BOSSIER CITY, Louisiana — Some racers toil away in the trenches their entire careers and never win a major event. Most are just happy to be out there, enjoying their hobby with family and friends while trying to get some decent results every now and again.
For 31-year-old Factory Stock driver Cody Myers, winning a major race was always the goal. And for 16 long seasons, he did everything he could to make it happen. Time after time, he fell just short of that target. Yet this past Saturday night, he finally put it all together and won the Mike Parker Memorial.
“It was amazing to be able to pull if off, never having won a big one before,” Myers said with a clear pride in his voice. “Going into the weekend, I took a different approach. I looked at it like a regular weekend; I've had a lot of heartbreak and dealt with a lot of adversity just trying to win a big race.
“I was kind of wondering if I could actually get it done. I questioned whether or not I could put 50 good laps together, and have the circumstances around me work in my favor. It was an emotional day for me on Saturday, to say the least. I really wanted to win that for my Dad and car owner, as well.”
The race was filled with the top Factory Stock pilots from around the Ark-La-Tex region. For Myers, it was a heady experience he won't soon forget.
“We got through the Pole Dash, and I really wanted to be on the outside in that race. I knew being on the outside was going to be key to staying out front and leading laps. Craig Pursley kept the pressure on me; plus Joshua Martin was strong, and so was CJ Howell.
“They beat on my bumper, but they ran me clean. I just had to go out there and hit 50 good, clean laps, and I managed to pull it off. It was an emotional win, and an amazing night overall. I'm super proud.”
Myers is another second-generation driver with short track racing in his blood. His father got him started when he was very young, and his progression from rookie to champion has been noteworthy.
“My Dad is originally from Des Moines, Iowa,” he explained. “He ran in Demolition Derbies back in Oregon and Washington State. He moved down to Louisiana in the 1980s, and he raced a Pure Stock at Boothill back in the day. He always ran a red Chevy Chevelle, No. 55, which is why I run that number.
“I started out on June 18th of 2005 at Champion Park Speedway at age 14 in the old Cruiser class,” he explained. “It eventually evolved into the Factory Stock class we know today, and that's the only class I've ever run. My Dad was the only help I've ever had, so I didn't have big bucks or a full crew.”
Those financial and manpower limitations didn't slow him down, since he had ample determination.
“I started knocking out some wins in 2009, that was a really good season for us,” Myers added. “We were chasing points at Champion Park but lost the championship, which was heartbreaking. My career finally took off in 2016 when I got a job, so I could start helping my Dad with the expenses of racing.”
Once he got rolling with a little more funding, that career on the ovals began to take shape.
“I started traveling out to the Dallas area; hitting all the big races I could to get some experience. In the summer of 2017, there was a big race for the Limited Modified guys at Boothill Speedway. I went out and won a $1,000-to-win feature for our cars; but I was disqualified for engine compression.
“My current car owner, Joe Best, was there that night and was very impressed with my driving. He discovered we were only five pounds over on compression, and that it wasn't intentional. That was a good year for us, we knocked off some wins at Boothill and got our first win at Ark-La-Tex.”
And just when it appeared as though he was destined for fame and fortune, bad luck came back around.
“We started struggling in the big races again, and I was bummed out. In 2018, I needed some parts for my car. Joe Best started helping out at that time, with parts, money and overall support. In 2019, Joe gave me a call and asked if I wanted to come drive for him.
“In just our second week together, we picked up our first feature victory. Joe Best, along with my Dad, has done more for my career than words can say. He put me in good equipment, which is what it takes to win races. Joe has been behind me since 2019, and we are on a roll together right now.”
At the tracks where Myers competes, the level of competition in Factory Stock is as tough as it gets.
“It's hard to run up front on a regular basis when you have the talented veterans we have racing in Factory Stock around these parts,” he explained. “Justin Whitehead has had a stranglehold on this class since about 2012. He's been a force to reckon with, just like Neil Kemp and Dalton Faulkner.”
When Myers puts on his safety suit, grabs his helmet and gets ready to race, he climbs into a state-of-the-art machine. He claims it's one reason why his program is so successful this year.
“I was blessed when Joe Best put me in a 2021 Outlaw last year, and he bought a 2022 model for this season,” Myers said. “It's super fast, well built, just an incredible piece that's really turned our program around.
“For horsepower, we use PTS Race Engines from John McLemore. They make awesome power and are extremely reliable. We can't ask for anything more and use his engines exclusively in my 55M ride.”
Along with his amazing natural talent behind the wheel and brand new Outlaw race car, Myers also has a few key people and marketing partners on board who keep his program on-track and running well.
“I need to thank my Dad, my car owner Joe Best; Justin Whitehead at Outlaw Race Cars; Neil Kemp at Club 20 Suspension, PTS Racing Engines; J&J Motorsports, Harold's Transmission, One Three Designs and Crawfish Tyme. I couldn't do this without their support, and appreciate all they do for me.”
With last Saturday's emotional victory still on his mind, Myers has a new goal to focus on in the coming days.
“We're not really chasing points anywhere this year like we did in 2021, but I want a few more wins,” Myers concluded. “Right now, the only thing on my mind is the $10,000-to-win race at Boothill in two weeks. The King of the Hill is one of the biggies; so we'd love to bag that one for sure.
“We won't do much traveling; we'll just stick to Ark-La-Tex, Boothill and Sabine. Driving for Joe Best, you just never know what's going to happen. But no matter what, we're winning and having a blast.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Chaz Brzeski