Scm Parker Price Miller Online
DAVE NEARPASS PHOTO

PPM – Full Speed Ahead

If one were to devise a checklist of predictable activities and behaviors endemic to the life of those in their 20s, being probed by needles, subjected to a series of MRI’s and CAT scans and devoting hours to consultation with a battery of doctors is not included.

While the illusion that serious illness is reserved for the aged is routinely breached, it is a belief that many find difficult to cast aside. Accepting that a medical crisis is at hand is often more difficult for those who are young and active.

In one telephone call Parker Price-Miller learned a valuable lesson, one previously only understood in theory. There is no preset flowchart in life. Things can and will change in a hurry.

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Parker Price-Miller aboard a midget at Tri-State Speedway in 2014. – DAVE NEARPASS PHOTO

Price-Miller and his family had been trying for months to understand the source of his persistent ankle pain, an issue that surgery was expected to mitigate. When the discomfort returned the search for answers continued. No one was quite prepared for the results uncovered by a new round of tests. Price-Miller heard the words cancer and understandably everything else became a blur.

He was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, a usual form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For the next few months, his agenda was rearranged.

When the shock subsided Price-Miller faced a series of choices. The easiest route involved cursing one’s fate and retreating into a private world full of lament and recrimination. Another approach was to confront this obstacle head-on and view this situation as a temporary impediment to his dreams, not an impermeable barrier.

Parker Price-Miller routinely manhandles winged sprint cars at the most foreboding of race tracks against the toughest of foes. The force of will that allows him to steel his nerves in this high-pressure world was now called upon in a different arena. This time the stakes were even higher, but he was not about to shy away from this challenge.

Price-Miller’s racing odyssey began when he was 10 years old. His stepfather, Scott Ronk, had raced go-karts as a young adult and had his interest in racing rekindled through a relationship with former sprint car pilot Tony Jarrett. Jarrett’s son, Logan, was beginning his racing career and Ronk purchased a driver’s suit for the young man.

In turn, the Jaretts invited Ronk to attend a micro sprint race at a nearby track. Ronk took his girlfriend (now wife) Kami and Parker to watch Logan Jarrett race.

“They were racing junior sprints and Kami said, ‘Well I think Parker could drive one of those,” Ronk recalled. “That was all she said. On Wednesday, I came home with a car and we had a knock down drag out over this. The whole family was active in sports and everyone was telling me that you have to practice; you just can’t go to the race track. I said he is going to practice Saturday night and get his ass kicked. From that Wednesday up until we were going out the door to the track, Kami kept insisting that this was not going to happen. That’s when I reminded her that she was the one who brought it up and said he could do it.”

Despite his mother’s concerns, she was there when her son strapped in for his first race at U.S. 24 Speedway in Logansport, Ind. It was a night that now seems quite ironic. Two of the main participants in the drama were Mike and Sam McGhee, the key principals in Parker’s current sprint car team.

“Jim Ferns, and of all people, Sam McGhee are battling for the win in the Junior Sprints,” Ronk remembered. “Parker is getting lapped and gets in the leader’s way, which happens to be McGhee. So, Ferns won his first race, and it turns out that those kids hated each other from quarter midgets. Later, Jim Ferns is thanking Parker for being in the way, while Mike McGhee is cussing at us for the same thing.”

It quickly became clear that Price-Miller had talent. He was also an excellent baseball player at Kokomo High School and had a chance at a college scholarship. Yet, racing won out and for the next two and a half years Price-Miller competed in micros at various Indiana race tracks.

As he moved up to the restrictor class, Rodney Stealy of Concept Chassis took him under his wing and former midget racer Stephanie Mockler proved to be a consistent source of encouragement.

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