Parker Stephens and the NTS Motorsports team currently sit fourth in SRL Southwest Tour points, but the team and Stephens have mutually agreed to part ways according to a SRL press release.
“Parker has done a great job for our team over the last couple of seasons and we really felt that we had a team surrounding him that would battle for wins and the championship in 2016,” stated Team Manager Gary Collins in the press release. “The team started the year with a second place finish at the Winter Showdown and has only one finish outside the top five all year. Unfortunately, things happen and we felt it was best for both sides to move this direction.”
Speed51.com powered by JEGS reached Stephens by phone on Friday morning. Stephens said the decision has nothing to do with Collins or team owner Bob Newberry, but is because of a family matter at home.
“My parents are going through a divorce and stuff at home so the financial situation isn’t where we’d like it to be,” Stephens said. “We just can’t do as much racing right now as we’d like. We don’t have that big sponsor to pay the tire bills and back gates. It has nothing to do with NTS Motorsports. Gary and Bob Newberry are all great people. We’ve run great with them. It’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot, but we didn’t want to put them and their program on hold with our situation because of what was going on.”
The NTS Motorsports team will head to its next race on July 16 at Madera Speedway (CA) with its other two drivers, Blaine Rocha and Christian McGhee. Rocha currently sits eighth in points, while McGhee is third in points and is leading the Rookie of the Year standings. Last year Stephens won Rookie of the Year with NTS Motorsports.
When asked if he had an idea of when he’d be back behind the wheel of a race car, Stephens said he was unsure.
“We’re just playing it by ear,” he said. “I’m working hard to find some sponsors and work with some companies to get them on the car full time. Maybe they can help pay the bill a little bit. But as of right now we’re playing it by ear and doing the best we can to get me back in the seat.”
The Olympia, Washington native has scored six top-five finishes in 13 starts with NTS Motorsports.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo