Can you imagine a 90 percent win record in a season? How about racing from April to October, on different tracks, against the best around, and only losing twice?
To most, those are video game-like numbers. For Jose Parga, it’s reality.
The 26-year-old DIRTcar Pro Late Model standout from New Berlin, IL, has won 19 of the 21 DIRTcar-sanctioned events he’s entered this year. When asked to how to describe this dream season, Parga paused… trying grasp its enormity.
“It’s unbelievable, really,” he said.
Now, the hunt for win #20 of the season continues during the 2023 DIRTcar Fall Nationals – Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 28-30 – where he’ll also wrap up his fourth career DIRTcar national points championship. Parga will take on the quarter-mile Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL, going for a season-milestone victory at a track he’s won four times at this year.
“I’m really hoping we can get that 20th win so we can get it out of the way and be done,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to getting there Thursday and trying a few things that we’ve been wanting to try all year in a little test session there.”
Parga had not lost a single race all season until two weeks ago when flat tires ruined his winning streak for two straight nights. Prior, he’d put together a streak of 19 victories in 19 starts – a division record, one the DIRTcar world may never see the likes of again.
“I’ve always been [taught] that if you work hard at something, you get what you want,” Parga said. “Obviously, you want to win every race, but it’s kind of crazy – I would have never thought I would have come close to winning as much races as I’ve raced.
“I’ve only lost twice this year. I would have never thought of that.”
Now 19-for-21 on the season, the big question remains – how did he do it?
“I’ve had a good car, and I feel like it’s a lot of me and the car [meshing] together – my driving style and how this car likes to be driven,” Parga said. “It works so good together, and we’re tough to beat right now.”
Over the winter, the team made a switch in chassis manufacturer. Parga’s cousin, Brandon Sheppard, had made the jump from Rocket to Longhorn Chassis, and Parga considered following suit. That was until Tennessee Super Late Model racer Cory Hedgecock – Parga’s Crate engine builder – offered him a deal on a frame from his new brand – BMF Race Cars.
Right out of the gate, the JLP Concrete, BMF/Eagle #6P was fast, notching five wins in five races in April. From there on out, the hours put in the shop carried them to an incredible win streak.
“We just made sure we were 100 percent ready each and every week,” Parga said. “We don’t half-ass our operation. If we’re not 100 percent ready and know that we’re ready and have no excuses, we just won’t go. That’s really kind of been the main thing – our preparation.”
Looking back, Parga and his team never once imagined this would be their reality. It’s a streak and season other drivers only dream about. And It’s not over yet. He still wants more.
“Sitting down at the beginning of the year, we had expectations to just win some races and see what we could do,” Parga said. “We didn’t know if we were going to struggle or not.
“To win like we’ve been doing is unbelievable.”
Catch Parga in the DIRTcar Pro Late Model division at the DIRTcar Fall Nationals at Lincoln Speedway next Thu-Sat night, Sept. 28-30. Tickets will be on sale at the gate. For more information, visit DIRTcar.com/Events/DIRTcar-Fall-Nationals.