Megan Parrott was four years old when she got a taste of racing. Her father, Brian, was racing cars then and often took her to the track. When she was seven years old, Parrott learned about the bandolero, an entry-level car that’s less than three feet high, about 10 feet long and has an engine with about 30 horsepower.
“[My father] told me every day I harassed him with, ‘I want one, I want one,’” says Parrott, who grew up in Beaver Bank.
She got that bandolero when she was nine years old as a grading present. She raced bandoleros until she was 16. Then she moved up to the truck division. Now 19, Parrott is racing in Scotia Speedworld’s sportsman division after Mitch Blandford offered her his car.
“I couldn’t turn it down,” she says.
The first time she drove the sportsman car, she says the window was so small, she couldn’t see anything, including the front of the car.
“It was very compact,” she says. “I felt claustrophobic. The wheel is right up in your face. And the sound is overwhelming. But then you get out there and get into the groove. Every time I get out of the car, my hands are shaking.”
Parrott says racing is about thinking smart, looking for holes and a smart way to get to the front. If there’s a crash, she says you have to know the best way to get around it. She’s been in several crashes, but she’s never been injured. When she was racing her bandolero, she had a car drive over hers. In a race in New Brunswick, she got t-boned during a truck race.
Parrott says she’s competitive and has won many races, including in the truck division. A recent highlight was on Friday, Aug. 3, her mom’s birthday, when she won both the heat and main races at Scotia Speedworld.
“I was so excited,” she says. “I was on the adrenaline high for two weeks.”
To anyone unfamiliar with racing, Parrott says it looks like the cars are just turning left and going fast. However, she says there are many factors that make it easier to go left, such as how you enter and exit turns. Parrott says her dad has taught her many skills of racing, how to take turns and hold the gas longer. But there’s one lesson she remembers most.
“He always reminds me to have fun and to find the fun in the race, no matter where I finish or how I do,” she says.
Ken Cunning is the general manager at Scotia Speedworld and remembers Parrott coming to the track when her father was racing. He’s watched her career over the past decade. Cunning says Parrott is level-headed, competitive and was a good driver from the get-go.
“She comes to win,” Cunning says. “She’s not rough. She’s not a bull in a china shop. She’s respectful of the people she’s racing against. She’s a contender. She’s only going to get better as she goes along.”
When she’s not racing, Parrott works as an apprentice linesman with Nova Scotia Power. She wants to continue racing — maybe pro-stock.
“I would not turn down anything at this point,” she says.
And she has advice for young, aspiring racers, too, like she was when she got her bandolero.
“You have to really love it,” she says. “If you want to do it, get after your parents. There are people at the track who will let you try out their cars.”