- Parker Johnstone
Parker Johnstone III (born
March 27, 1958) is a former race car driver and motorsports announcer from Redmond, Oregon. An accomplished musician, he was the principal trumpet of the International Youth Orchestra, touring Europe, playing with Herbert von Karajanand the Berlin Philharmonic, and famed pianist Van Cliburn. Instead of attending Juilliard School of Music, he went to the engineering school at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his degree in 1982.
He began his amateur racing career while in high school while working as a systems programmer in Silicon Valley part time to pay for his his new hobby, racing automobiles. Winning at SCCA events, he worked as an instructor at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving after college. He continued to win while driving Corvettes and import sedans.
Hondahired him to drive during the 1984 season. He won numerous events in the IMSA Firehawk series. He finished 2nd in the Renault Cup National Championship in 1984, earning a spot with the factory Renault team to race in Europe. He returned to the United States to win the Renault Cup championship in 1985. In 1986 he won the SCCA National Road Racing Championship driving for Honda in GT-4. He also won IMSA championships in International Sedan for Acurain 1987 and 1988. In 1987 he was also the rookie of the year in the pro-Formula Atlantic division. He won the IMSA Camel Lights sports car championship 3 years in a row, from 1991 to 1993, setting all-time qualifying and race win records, including winning the 24 Hours of Daytonatwice, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and 1000km Suzukaevent in Japan. He finished second in both 1989 and 1990 in the IMSA International Sedan Championship.
A road course specialist, he drove in mainly road course races in the 1994 and 1995 CART/IndyCar seasons for
Comptech Racing. Significantly, in his oval debut at the Michigan 500 in 1995, he qualified on the pole with a new track record, giving Honda its first ever IndyCar pole position. He dominated the race until sidelined with a mechanical problem. In 1995, he also set the closed course world speed record in excess of 238 mph. He then moved up and ran the full season in 1996. For 1997, he moved to Team Green Racing. Although he led several IndyCar races, his best CART finish was a second place that came in 1996 at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
After he retired from professional racing, Parker became the color analyst commentator for ABC's/ESPN's coverage of CART racing. When ESPN stopped covering CART he was moved to cover the pit action and work as the technical pit analyst for the NHRA coverage. After three years of covering the NHRA Drag Racing Championship, he left broadcasting to oversee and operate [http://wilsonvillehonda.com Parker Johnstone's Wilsonville Honda] in Wilsonville, Oregon. Several of his historically significant race cars are on display there. He is an instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor pilot and has competed and won in aerobatic competitions. He also is scuba certified. Currently he competes in triathlons and cycling races. 2006 marked his first full year of cycling competition in which he won twice.
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