Bristol NASCAR Notebook: Todd Parrott Brings Wealth Of Experience To Interim Crew Chief Role

(NASCAR Wire Service)

By Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Todd Parrott will serve as Ryan Newman's interim crew chief with Richard Childress Racing (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Todd Parrott will serve as Ryan Newman’s interim crew chief with Richard Childress Racing (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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.”


Second-generation driver Ross Kenseth, 21, will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut in the stand-alone June 20 race at Chicagoland Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday.

And the son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth will be able to showcase his talent in excellent equipment. He’ll be piloting the No. 20 JGR Toyota for his maiden voyage in one of NASCAR’s top touring series.

The car will sport the livery of Dollar General, one of Matt Kenseth’s sponsors on the Cup side.

“It’s pretty surreal–it still is,” Ross Kenseth said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “It probably won’t set in until you’re in the car for the first time. But to be able to put a deal together with Coach Gibbs and JGR and Dollar General, it’s been a dream come true to be able get that first start.

“To be able to do it in top-notch equipment and have a really competitive car like that is really exciting.”

The Chicagoland race takes place during an off week for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, giving Matt Kenseth the chance to attend his son’s debut.

“Certainly, I don’t think the opportunity could be any better than this,” Matt Kenseth said. “I feel like the 20 is one of the best (XFINITY) cars out there this year with Wheels (crew chief Mike Wheeler) running that thing. …

“It’s exciting for me, and it’s an off weekend, so I’ll be able to be there and be part of that. Looking forward to see how he does. It’s a great shot, and he’s worked really hard for it.”


Through the first seven races of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Jimmie Johnson has two victories. By definition, he’s locked into the Chase as long as he finishes in the top 30 in points after race No. 26.

Furthermore, Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet has shown enough speed in the first seven races—particularly on the intermediate speedways—to convince anyone who’s paying attention that he’s a likely contender for what would be his record-tying seventh championship.

But Johnson isn’t thinking about joining Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt on the top line of the NASCAR record book. In his view, the elimination format of the Chase precludes it.

“I don’t think, with this format, that you can (think about the title) until five to go or two to go at Homestead,” Johnson said. “It’s just a different feeling these days. I feel like we’re one step closer to that opportunity, but once we get in the Chase, there’s just so many things that can go on.”

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