BRISTOL, Tenn.—If you’re Richard Childress, and you’re looking for an interim crew chief, you’d be hard pressed to find a more experienced candidate than Todd Parrott.
Fortunately for Childress, Parrott already is part of the RCR organization, as competition director for the NASCAR XFINITY Series effort, but he’ll make a quick transition to crew chief for Ryan Newman this weekend at Bristol while Newman’s regular pit boss, Luke Lambert, serves a six-race suspension.
Lambert’s mandated exile was held in abeyance while RCR appealed NASCAR penalties for altering tires during the March 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
When the National Stick Car Appeals panel ruled on Thursday—reducing the fines and points penalties but leaving the suspensions in place—Lambert began serving his suspension, along with race engineer Philip Surgen and tire specialist James Bender.
But Newman will be in good hands with Parrott, whose resume includes 609 races as a crew chief, 31 victories (second to Chad Knaus’ 70 among active crew chiefs) and a championship with driver Dale Jarrett in 1999.
“I’m very familiar with what is going on here,” Parrott said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway prior to Sunday’s Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes (1 p.m. ET on FOX). “I have stayed over for some Sunday (Sprint Cup) races. Obviously, bouncing back and forth … you guys know my history. I have a lot of years in the Cup garage.
“Hopefully it shows the depth of RCR while Luke is going through his deal here with the suspension and stuff. We have a great bunch of guys—the engineer, tire guy and everybody that is filling in for the guys back at home. So we just go out and do our job and make the best of it.”
Parrott has competed against Newman on numerous occasions. Now he is enjoying the opportunity to work with the runner-up in last year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“I have always admired Ryan Newman,” said Parrott, who accompanied Newman to a Goodyear tire test in Kentucky earlier this week. “There have been several times when I have been on the other side. He’s a very aggressive race car driver, and I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”
Reid Spencer – NASCAR Wire Service