|Thanks to Lee Ackerman and the Nebraska Racing hall of fame for the biographical content of this page!!|
Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee, Bobby
Parker and his wife Donna still live in Omaha. Bob and Donna
are really nice folks like
nearly all racing folks are. We talked about Playland and racing
in general. He remembers all the names and many of the
races. It's amazing what detail these guys remember.
Especially when you won over 300 midget features and a LOT of stockcar features to boot!
Bob was born June 6, 1926 in Omaha. After WWII, Bobby started attending the midget races at Playland, where established driver Wayne Selser helped Bob get a ride in Floyd Austin's midget. That was July4, 1949. Bobby quickly became one of Playland's top drivers. A great feat because Playland attracted some of the best nationally known talent. Stars like Bob Slater, Jud Larson, Ben Harleman, Vito Calia, Don Branson, Johnny Sawyer and Mac McHenry were coming to Playland on a regular basis.
In addition to the nationally known racers, local talent was abundant. Racers like Larry Wheeler, Wayne Selser and Der Merkley were all seeking victory on Playland's 1/4 mile dirt surface.
1950 marked the beginning of modified stckcar racing at Playland and Bob's dad Gene built a car for Bob to drive there as well as Riverside and Grandview in Omaha. They also competed at Harlan, Blue Herron and Denison in Iowa. Soon Bob was competing against and beating the likes of Johnny Beauchamp, Glenn Robey, Merle Ravenstein and Don Pash.
In 1953, Bobby finished second to Bud Burdick in the points race. Bob lead the race for the track championship going into the last race of the season. He only needed to finish sixth to sew it up. While running third (right behind Burdick) and with ten laps to go, he lost a wheel and handed the championship to a deserving Bud Burdick.
In 1957, Bob landed a ride in Ed Murcek's 34 Ford. It was Sunset Speedway's first season. Although Glenn Robey won the first two features, Bobby Parker's one feature win coupled with many top five finishes gave him the inaugural Sunset Track Championship. Glenn was second, Jin Vana third, Bobby French fourth and Pete Huffman fifth.
In 1957, Bob Parker won the first Sunset feature and with two more feature wins, coasted to a second track title.
During this same period, Bob also sat in some of the top midget seats, driving for Les Vaughn, Otto Ramer, Les King, Art Jacobson and Roy Thomas. Of course, Bob won races for all these owners. The Jacobson-Parker combo was the most successful. They raced throughout the midwest in the 50's and 60's, winning wherever they went. Bob won races in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Minnesota. Although the Ford V8-60 flathead gave up some horsepower to the formidable Offies, Bob consistently beat them.
Bob's family has been very supportive of his racing career. Bob and Donna were married on July 7, 1951. They have two daughters, Bobbie and Jaclyn as well as two sons, Dennis and Mike. Both Bobby and Donna are retired and enjoy the company of their "baby", Smokey, an Italian greyhound.
The full write-up provided by Lee Ackerman.
There are sooo many articles from Bob's scrapbooks that I put many of Bob's race result articles on the results page!!! That will help keep the drivers' website from filling up and spread out the webspace.
So look at the race results page for many more articles from Bob.