Into 2017 and Beyond

When I was just 20 years old my mother was suffering from cancer. She died in my arms. It was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with in my life and has forever changed me. It was then, that I told myself ‘I will live every day to the fullest’, and I have. Although, I must say, some days I may have pushed the envelope a bit.

After my Mom passed I got married some years later to only get divorced within 9 months. I wasn’t the perfect husband nor the easiest to get along with at that point in my life. We both moved on. I then met and got remarried (to Dina) and we have built a life together. When we bought our first house, we closed on a Thursday and me and the entire house was gutted by Friday. Dina wasn’t very happy with me when she walked into an empty house, but that’s the way I roll. Ya, well that was then anyway. Now, she’s on to me.

A short time later, Dina bought home our new child …our fur child. She brought home Bella. The Wonder Pug. Dina had gotten Bella for me, but that as you may realize is not how things turned out. Bella was no Daddy’s girl.

At that time, I traveled quite a bit for work, so Dina and Bella were like Mom and daughter. Dina had trained her from day one. She was not only trained to always be on her best behavior, but she was also trained as a ‘Pet Therapy Dog’. Dina would take her to Nursing Homes to visit with the patients. She also was a ham. As soon as a camera came out Bella would stop what she was doing and pose for the picture. She traveled across the US to every race track we raced at, and she had her own fans. There were many times that fans requested to see Bella after walking right past the race cars! She has brought so much happiness to so many people. She sucks you in with those googly eyes. She was fun and goofy too. Like a kid. At our old house, we had a Koi pond. We had one fish whose name was Dude. He was bigger than Bella. These two would play fight! Bella would sit by the edge of the pond and wait for Dude to come up on a rock. Bella would tap him on the head with her paw and Dude would flip water on her with his tail. It was so amazing to watch. That is just one of so many stories about her.

Bella was put to rest on Monday November 7th. I can’t tell you the empty feeling we have. She was with us for 15 amazing years and has been through so much with us. She drove me nuts at times, but now I miss it. As I said I traveled a lot with my old job, and wasn’t home often, so Dina and Bella did everything together. There are people who say ‘they are just dogs’, but we disagree. She was our kid, our family. It has been a rough road for all of us, since we left NY. Especially for Bella, the last couple of years have been tough. She slowed down, and her health declined, yet she was always a good girl.

I owe Bella a lot, you see I was a Corporate guy who got caught up in the world of all work and no play. Climbing the Corporate ladder and not seeing my family. Well, when they ‘downsized’ and I was home a bit more often. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and realized that Bella had the best life. She was keeping Dina sane while I wasn’t home, (which is not an easy job) kept an eye out on my family and was always there. I know we all have to work to get ahead in life but at what price? I heard this once and will never forget it; ‘Where is the richest place on earth? The Cemetery it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled.’ Think about it.

Make the best of life while you are here. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but it’s true. So, let me say this. We have been very fortunate in our life to be able to do a lot of cool things we have set out to do. We had the best fur kid ever. She is now in a better place, probably hanging with some cool people.  

Something I have struggled with growing up and even recently is believing in myself. Growing up my father wasn’t very supportive of me. As he put it, I was the garbage that was put out to the curb. So, you can imagine our relationship, like oil and water. So, I did things to drive him nuts on purpose. Oh, hell ya! My older brother gave me a chemistry set at the age of 13 but made me promise not to tell my parents he gave it to me. My father just had the stucco house painted (yes, it’s an Italian thing) and my bedroom was on the second floor. One day, I made invisible ink with that chemistry set. As I did, I had heard my father screaming my name for something I must have done. So, I poured the ink out the window. OK, I kinda poured it on the house. Well, my father left for work and saw a blue line (out my bedroom window) then it would disappear. This went on for a week. I came home day to see the painters were back. I said this can’t be good. Let’s just say, I got busted, and boy was I in trouble! Anyway, growing up was difficult, and losing my only support system (my Mom) made it that much harder. When you hear your entire life that you are useless, you begin to believe it. Going through tough times is when you really seem to buy into it. Lack of confidence is such a terrible thing to live with, especially when it is brought on by a parent and not necessarily my own doing or my own ‘fault’. But it is my fault. I let my own father put this fear in me and I believed it. Dina gets very mad at me when I doubt myself. If you don’t have someone that supports you in life, your dreams, your accomplishments, move on from that person. Going to the race track and seeing families racing together and watching the kids out with their parents makes me so proud to be part of this sport. I was reminded today, you have to believe in yourself, you are smart, own it.

Well, 2017 is just about here. Man, are we looking forward to a new start! Stella is undergoing a full makeover from the ground up. We have changed almost everything in the car and each day another part gets ordered. 2017 just has a great ring to it. A redemption year for DPR. Between Stella’s makeover, Dina and I are going thru a full body and mind transformation as well. Not that I need a transformation, because Dina is older than me anyway. We are waiting for a few things to fall into place. It looks as if we will be running NMCA in 2017, but we will have an official announcement after the new year. Of course, that will be followed by updates to the website as well.

I think we are going see some great racing this year. NMCA, PDRA, ADRL and NHRA will have a lot of fast and exciting teams competing for a championship. Donald Longs race in February is going to be another crazy race. I don’t see a lack of anywhere to race this year in fact, there may be too many choices. I’m sure you will see many teams stepping up their programs, including us.

2016 is almost over and It was a bumpy ride for sure. We don’t know what the future holds but we do know what the past has taught us. Life is short, go out and enjoy it while you can. Do something crazy once and while! Jump in the snow naked, drive a race car, go on a roller coaster ride after drinking tequila. The holidays are a tough time for many people who don’t have family, so if you know someone who is going thru tough times, grab them and tell them you are there for them, even if it is not physically. Open your home, invite them to dinner. This time of the year is very hard for so many, trust me I know firsthand. Being around positive, loving, caring, supportive people is so important. Remember, pay it forward.

Uh, oh! I am starting to hear voices from the Boss lady. Might have to make some fake snow and bury her in it! Anyway, have a great Holiday season! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!

Keep on believing in yourself and live life to the fullest. Next up 2017 and beyond. Time to plug high gear and let’s go!

See you all soon.

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk, Dream the Dream…

 

 

Well here we are. August has come and gone, we are winless and I am I frustrated…. All I can say is, “WOW”. We have put our hearts and soul into this program and Stella is just being stubborn. It’s not a car issue or driver issue at all. It is ‘little’ things that just keep biting us.

 

The NMCA is an amazing series to race. Great tracks, awesome fans and they had some of the best racers in attendance. Unfortunately, success was not to be for us. On a positive note, we did find the issue(s) and are addressing it.

 

The NMCA staff do a great job putting on their show. As racers we take a lot for granted when attending events. It takes a lot to put one of these events on. From ticket sales to parking to track prep. The staff at the NMCA are amazing group of people and do an outstanding job. No matter how experienced of a driver she is, it is still difficult to watch your wife motoring down the track. Your stomach gets butterflies and there is always a slight bit of uneasiness. Having the staff at NCMA certainly gives you a sense confidence and security. Thank you to the entire NCMA staff for that.

 

It has been one crazy season. I feel the need to apologize to our marketing partners, fans, crew and Dina for the lackluster performance this season. Being the man in charge of it all, I feel I have not done my part. I will not quit nor lay down, that is not my style. The fact is our performance has not been up to par, and I am working diligently to rectify that. I can promise you this, changes are happening. We don’t have a huge budget which makes it hard to have the latest and greatest but DPR is not willing to give up. We will be back; stronger and performing better than ever in 2017.

 

It has been a wild 2016 for so many off the track as well. Our friend and fellow racer Bill Lutz, had a procedure a few months ago then all hell broke loose for him with his health. Bill was instrumental in helping to bring Pro Mods back to IHRA by working hard behind the scenes. I met Bill many years ago in the Winners circle at the NHRA Unleashed race. He is great guy with an amazing family (he just became a Grandfather!). Here is a guy who beat cancer, then went in for a simple operation and nearly loses his life. Life changes in an instant. Don’t take it for granted. I know Bill is fighting the fight, because I text him every day giving him hell, telling him to keep fighting. I know he is probably tired of me but he needs to hear it. He has a long road to recovery. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.

 

Keeping in the ‘theme’ of family, our home track is Virginia Motorsports Park. Yes, we live Georgia, but VMP is our track. The track manager Allen, is a pain but we still like him. Being so in touch with that area we learned about a young woman named Katy Daniel. Katy was working on her farm with her uncle, using an Auger. While working, her hair was caught in the Auger and in turn she lost her scalp, both ears and one eye brow. When we heard this story we felt like it was one of our own and had to do something (full story here http://dinapariseracing.com/67219-2/ ) . With the help of the racing community, our friends and fans we raised donations for Katy’s family to put towards expenses. Now, think of this for a moment. All of that happened in a split second. I don’t even want to think of the pain this girl felt. She has such a long road ahead of her yet, she is so determined and positive. Katie is a determined and strong young lady who is an inspiration to so many. The road to recovery is going to be long for her but she is #KatyStrong.

 

Many of you may know Ian Tocher, photographer for Drag Illustrated. You may also be aware he is recuperating from an incident at Rockingham Dragway a while back. I am happy to say he is improving daily! Determination is key to success.

 

Different people, different injuries but one common factor. FIGHT. Never give up attitude. Determination. My point to all of this is; regardless of your situation, playing the pitty party won’t get you ahead in life. Stop saying why me and start saying why not me. Ask, “How can I help others?” Take Cale Aronson for example. That crazy nut does not understand the words, ‘NO’, or ‘CANT’. I thought I was high maintenance and drove Dina nuts, but Poor Tinzy. That girl should get a Purple Heart. I kid…I kid…Cale continues to fight every day. The people I mentioned are not Actors, not fictitious characters. They are hardworking people like you and me and have basically stared death in the face. They fight not only for themselves but for their families and to do what they love to do again. We all at one point in our lives battle something, we can either lay down and let it beat us or kick its butt. The people I just mentioned are butt kickers. I am inspired by all of them.

 

So, people ask me, “If you are struggling so much right now, why not just quit?” My answer to them is ‘quitting would be too easy.’ If we (Dina and I) were not following this crazy dream, we could; go on vacation, have money in the bank again, sleep more than 3 hours a night and stay in one place for an extended period of time. I know if I quit, I would be letting down not just myself, but the many others that have helped us along the way and up to this point. Besides, if the people I mentioned previously are fighting for their lives, how can I not keep fighting for what I want? We all have different goals and dreams. My biggest dream right now is to once again race my wife and kick her butt. For now, I will just be the guy to blame… I mean crew chief.  

 

Right now in our sport, there is big talk about ADRL coming back. That ‘talk’ spurs more ‘talk’ regarding the ‘health’ of PDRA. That’s not my opinion, it’s merely an observation of the chatter. Then we have reality stars entering Pro Mod at NHRA and IHRA rebranding for 2017. I look at all this and say, “WOW!”. Really, you can say what you want about Kenny Knowling (ADRL if you are unaware), but the man is a marketing genius. He has put more butts in the seats in a Pro Mod/Doorslammer series race than anyone (of late). Our first ADRL race he had to ‘pick names out of hat’ for the run order. Guess what? Dina and I were ‘chosen’ to race each other! Coincidence? Of course not! It was for the fans. What is being forgotten in our sport currently is that racing is entertainment. Racing IS a show and it IS for the fans. Our job as a racer is twofold; to be competitive and to entertain. Kenny knew his job was put fans in the stands and make it exciting and he did just that. Every series should be looking Kenny to see what he is going to be doing. Personally, if I were heading up any other series I would be hiring Kenny. We currently do not race the PDRA series. They do have some fast cars and good car counts. On the flip side, they have a lot of work to do with marketing and getting fans in the stands (for the most part). There has been much talk regarding a reality star entering the NHRA ranks. Honestly, a lot of racers ‘started out’ racing on the streets. The difference? That (version of) street racing was never glorified on a TV show. In the beginning, NHRA seemingly wanted to put the screws to many of them by taking their licenses, a move I myself did find counterproductive. Now, NHRA sees the popularity of the Street Outlaws show  so they choose to have the reality star shoot a PSA about street racing. Which would be a great idea if he were not continuing to street race. So, ‘do as I say, not as I do?’ Of course this is my opinion. I do not have a dog in the fight here, but I am a bit confused by NHRA and the direction of all of this. He is still racing on the street and on a TV show that promotes street racing, yet makes a PSA warning against the dangers of street racing? I guess I need a Doctorate in Oxymoronism to figure this one out. It’s kinda like the Marlboro man doing a non-smoking campaign. Again, this is my take on the situation, certainly not a personal attack on the reality star himself. Frankly, he’s the lucky one. He was given a platform and he took it. Kudos to him.  

 

IHRA has crowned their 2016 Pro Mod Champion, Billy Harper. Unfortunately, we only attended one race with them this year. IHRA is rebranding its program and we have been told Pro Mod is coming back in 2017. IHRA has a lot of work to do as well. It is said, Top Fuel is coming back to IHRA. I think at this point TF is going to be very hard to sell to teams that are competing in NHRA, but for those that can’t afford to run NHRA this may be an option. We will see how it all pans out.

 

The one thing I see lacking in Drag Racing is branding and promotion of drivers. But not in NASCAR. NASCAR is killing it in their broadcast and beyond. But, NHRA? The TV program is just blah,a bit lackluster. Although I will say, FS1 is better than ESPN it still needs to step it up a bit. One car goes down the track, another one then another. It’s repetitive and not appealing to a new fan that may not understand what is happening. Yes, I know, its Drag Racing is a straight line, and NASCAR turns left. Regardless of that, people like to see who is under the helmet. Why is John Force on the TV all the time? He has a personality and doesn’t care how or what he says be it right or wrong. In one interview (well more than once) he forgot his sponsors name, then mispronounced it. But, he made fun of himself and still drew attention to the sponsor anyway! Your car can break every record in the world but if nobody knows who the driver is, or the sponsors associated with them, it really doesn’t matter.

 

The last race (and every race) of NMCA we had a lot of fun and got to hang out with a ton of people. I made a side bet with Dina, and I lost. Losing that bet, resulted in me (and Butch) wearing Tutu’s to the starting line. I do not like losing, and I certainly do not like losing when paying the vig means wearing a TuTu in public! I can tell you this, that is the last time I will be wearing a TuTu. I am sure Dina will be putting a nice slideshow together of the Bam Bam and Butch ballet. I have to say I am so smooth and fly very well. I think I am going to try out for Dancing with the Stars.

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Well it’s time to get Stella apart and start looking toward the future. Dina and I are working on new marketing partners for 2017. We will keep you all posted on our progress!

 

See you all at the Track!

 

Andrew Bam Bam Parise

Click,Click, Boom…..

Well, Stella is being a real Bitch. She keeps fighting us in every way possible. Just when you think you have her figured out; BAM she says “HA!HA! You know who you are dealing with.” We have not struggled this hard in a long time. I have some very great and amazing friends behind the scenes working with us. I am very confident we are going to get Stella back on track and competitive very soon.

 

We attended our first NMCA race at Atlanta Dragway and have to say it was a lot of fun. We fought the cold weather and some incidents but overall it was a lot of fun. The fans were amazing! They came out in the wind and cold to watch racing, and stayed all day. The track crew did an amazing job keeping a tight surface and the NMCA staff were extremely accommodating. As for our crew, Butch Branzelle drove from Virginia to Georgia to crew. A seven hour ride all for being paid in Lasagna. Thank you to Jody Lupton for offering to crew as well. Also joining the DPR crew for the weekend was Ellen E. and Damon S. of E3xtreme.Be sure to check out the photos of Stella as well as other NMCA racers. They are amazing! Ellen did an awesome job crewing with us. We certainly had a lot of laughs this weekend which was needed. We can’t thank them enough for all their help.

 

2016 has already been a tough year for our sport. The latest being the wreck of Ronnie Davis that claimed his life. In drag racing, it is not just about the racing but the comradery. When we were moving to Georgia and looking for a building people told me to reach out to Ronnie Davis. He knows everyone. I was not close with Ronnie, but talked to him at the track numerous times. I talked to Ronnie about finding a building and he was so accommodating. Right away he was calling everyone, asking who has a building for a NY race team. He was the King for a reason. Forget the racing, he was just that guy willing to help you and a straight shooter. He didn’t know me that well to help me, but he did. Then there is Ian (Tocher) of Drag Illustrated. Ian was doing what he did best. Covering the races. He was unfortunately injured during the incident. But so far things are looking somewhat positive for him. We became friends with Ian a long time ago. He always has that smile on his face. Keep him in your thoughts for a speedy recovery. Our friend Pat Musi had major heart surgery. I love to joke with Pat about how he needs to eat more salad. Needless to say, he does not seem to be a fan of ‘that’ green stuff! LOL! Dan Stevenson had a major fire and thankfully he is okay and has unveiled a new ride. A ton of crashes this year already and we are only into two months of racing. Further rocking the drag racing word was Bob Vandergriff deciding to retire. My point to all of this is as racers, we have a bit of wall up and everything seems a bit secretive. Racers protect their info regarding tune ups and combos, but at the end of the day we are all a big family. We don’t do this for the money, we do this because we are all nuts and love not just the sport but the people in the sport. Hearing about Ronnie and Ian made me sit back and analyze my own life and what really matters. I hate the statement ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ but it makes you really think about life and how quickly someone can be taken. Appreciate them while they are here.

 

Truth be told, I have to get back behind the wheel of a car and soon. If I’m not careful, I will be divorced by the end of the year because I am driving Dina nuts. I don’t mind crewing but I miss the thrill of driving, I miss the rush. Besides, I want a championship under my belt. I can’t let her have all the glory, although I do look good in TUTU. Life isn’t about finding yourself (because you are not lost) life is about developing yourself and creating your own path. A motivational speaker once said “You only get one ticket in life, use it until it expires”, that speaker was my wife. When I worked for corporate America, I was married to my work. I worked extremely long hours and traveled sometimes 3 weeks a month. For 10 years I rarely saw Dina. Maybe that part was not so bad….Well truthfully it was. The worst part? The fact that I lost who I was. I became the corporate guy that I swore I would never become. I learned a lot but wasn’t happy. You can make all the money in the world but it won’t make you rich in happiness just rich in the bank. Do what you love to do and keep doing it. For example… I don’t know Keith Haney well. But he became a business guru at a young age. Just look at the man. He is always smiling, having fun and has an amazing family behind him. He is full of life. People around him are having fun because it’s contagious! John Montecalvo and his lovely wife Lois Anne have become close friends of ours. Both of them (each) have amazing businesses and they are some of the most caring people you will meet. Like they say you surround yourself with good people. Positive people.That positivity will be returned to you.

 

So, we have been asked so many times about racing in IHRA as well as other sanctions. Right now we are focused on a couple things, one being to get Stella running well. The car itself is working great. Matheis Race Cars built an outstanding piece. I couldn’t ask for a better car. We have amazing Marketing Partners for this year and beyond. (Be sure to visit http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners/ for Special offers from them! ) Our plan is to build a second car and continue to build our team. We will continuously strive to make our team bigger and better.

 

At the NMCA race we were under a lot of pressure, well I was. I have been working on this race car for two weeks trying to figure out her issues. A lot of people behind the scenes have helped and I can’t thank them enough. When your stress level is pouring out your eyeballs, I can cause you to lose your mind. Yes, I lost my mind. Stella and her issues got the best of me and I just exploded. I went off. I was screaming at Stella but I was in the boss’ face. The only thing that saved me was the fact that she (Dina) was still strapped in the car. You can give a great driver a great car but when it lacks power the car just doesn’t like it nor does the driver. Think about this, you come home touch a light switch and get an electric shock. The Electrician tells you it’s fixed but it happens again and again. After a while you are hesitant to touch that switch. It’s the same thing with race car. I’m the electrician but she is the one that has to touch the switch. I can’t believe I am going to write this but I have to apologize to D..Di…. Dina for exploding. Oh, I am never going to live this down.

 

I have to get back to the shop and go have a long talk with Stella. Maybe we have to give her some wine and cheese to make her happy?

 

Remember…..GO live life….It’s the only one you get.

 

See you at the races,

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Photo Courtesy E3Xtreme

It’s the journey, not the final destination

 

2016, it has a nice ring to it but it hasn’t been nice so far. We moved to Georgia and it was a nightmare. The first moving company we hired had all the wrong paperwork and didn’t have a clue of what our move entailed. They also hit us with paperwork containing fees that were not in the original binder. The workers also did not have proper I.D. to prove they worked with the company. We were not about to trust the contents of our home to them, so we had to delay our move and find another moving company. That was a daunting task to say the least. But a friend found us a great local company in Pa. They handled it! Moving the shop was not fun, but thanks to good friends we did it all. The timing of moving couldn’t be any better, NOT! Moving right at the start of race season, so that meant no testing. I am all about testing prior to getting the season started. Gives you time to work out the bugs and issues.

 

So the move is done, and one week later we load up and head to Orlando for the IHRA season opener. We arrive a few days early so we can test. Well, you know it isn’t going to be a good weekend when you get to the track and slide into the mud. Yes, the mud. I got the motorhome stuck in the mud. Lets just say, my vocabulary consisted of some words I will refrain from repeating. My wife was no help reciting lines from ‘My Cousin Vinny’ as we attempted to get the motorhome out of the mud. A big thank you to Orlando Speedworld and the staff who pulled me out of the mud. I then had the task of cleaning 100 pounds off mud off the truck and out from under the wheel wells. The best part ? Was the generator exhaust pipe was so clogged with mud that when I started it, it shot mud balls 10 feet!

 

We tested on Thursday, but we unfortunately got stuck behind the eight ball with issues, giving us only two test hits. I am organized. My lists have lists and I check my lists to have everything ready and prepared. But apparently between moving the house and the shop things are still bound to happen. Still, no excuses.

 

Quain Stott, Butch Branzille, did an amazing job. We broke our butts to give Dina a good car. On the first qualifier Dina lifted right away. Not sure if she had a brain fart about mud in the tires but we gave that one away. We did notice we had some extremely high Bruno pressure. We pulled everything apart the following day (since we don’t run till 8pm.) I debated changing the unit but did not (my wife always tells me to go with my 1st instinct). In Q2 it shook. Quain and I agreed to ‘let her eat’. Let’s see what it does. Well, it got worse. Now some of you may know some may not, but tuning a car is hard enough, but when there is an underlying problem it’s almost impossible. Quain did his best to get that car down the track but when you have a converter locked when the car leaves the line it is extremely hard to tune. I unfortunately made a bad call and caused us not to qualify. I need to just follow my 1st instinct, go with my gut.

 

We are regrouping, and making changes. I know we have a fast car and we will be testing every part before we go to another race. We want to defend that #`1 title but we need to be running strong. Do I know everything? Hell no. But I am willing to learn and ask questions. Winning isn’t everything but when you have one hand tied behind your back you don’t have a chance. We struggled all last year with part failures, I refuse to do that again. If you drive by the shop you will find a dumpster full of new parts that just plain don’t work. I wouldn’t give this junk away.

 

This is a very tough sport; you can go from hero to zero in a minute, well seconds really. Some people think it’s easy to run a race car both tuning and driving. So, I would like to clear up a couple things for the record.

           *The car doesn’t know if a male or female is driving and it doesn’t care.

           *We here at DPR have a maintenance program that some people think is nuts, but that’s what we have created and live by. Check and re-check then check again.

               ** A typical race week preparation program. Motorhome – fill water tank, empty waste tanks, check all tires, check all fluids, cook all food, make sure we have drinks, snacks, blankets, clothes etc. Don’t forget Bella’s food, medication, treats and poop bags! Basically take your house and put it on wheels. Then the Trailer- check all your inventory- check generator, compressor, brakes, tires, fill fluids, CRC Brakekleen, rags, towels etc. So now you have taken your garage and put it on wheels. Stella the Cadillac- check every nut and bolt, air bottles are full, check bearings, rings, springs, brakes, tires. Take your car to the dealership and ask them to rebuild it but you need it in a week (oh, for no charge! LOL!). Oh ya , and do all this in between your daily job so you can pay the bills. Sounds easy right?

 

Then there is social media. Mostly a great place to interact. But some of the negative, insulting comments. Really? I know you are going to have hatters out there, but come on. How about we all grow up and use social media to actually BE social. In racing we work very hard to obtain marketing partners (please visit ours here: http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners/ ) , (they are essentially our bosses) to get to the next level in our careers. That is our choice, we sacrifice a lot in our lives to race (also our choice). I haven’t been on a vacation in 8 years. But that’s what we choose to do. So, next time you (or someone you know) posts a negative comment (especially one that could have negative ramifications) think about it this way…..How would you feel if I went to your job and told your boss negative things about you? Because frankly, that is what is being done. I say that on behalf of all those who have to endure the negativity.

 

I want the #1 on the car next year for DPR and our partners. If it happens great, but if it doesn’t we understand the need to work harder. Dina always says ‘It’s not getting to the stripe first, but the journey you took to get there’. For the longest time I didn’t really get what she meant. Over the years I have learned to appreciate that statement through what we do off the track. Although we did not make the show, we did roll Stella out of the trailer on Sunday at the IHRA event at Orlando Speedworld. Lots of fans did come by, but we had a very special guest in our pit that day. His name is Jesse. Jesse has Down Syndrome. Dina and Jesse’s Mom Erin have been friends on Social Media for 5 years and this was their first meeting in person! This kid made our day! The expression on his face when he sat in the car was priceless. He and Bella also became fast friends as well. A great moment like this makes you realize a lot about life. I want to win and be competitive, but I love kids like Jesse and the fans. The fans make the show not us. We have the easy job. Make the car run and drive it. The fans endure the heat, rain, long food lines, lots of walking etc. So, it drives me nuts is when teams have attitudes if they don’t make show pack up and leave on Elimination day (although sometimes it may be unavoidable, I admit). These fans paid to see us. All they want is a picture and autograph and a few minutes of our time. I watched Jesse during the day he is a great kid. He may be a ‘special needs’ kid, but maybe it is all of us that are actually ‘special needs’ in the way that we maybe do not appreciate certain things in life.

 

This brings me back to a childhood friend I had. When I was 8 years old, my neighbor Jimmy was told he would never walk. What 8-year-old believes he will never walk? Well certainly not this kid. I hung out with him and put him on the swing set every day. He fell off, but got up every time. A year later we were riding bikes together. He and his family moved away, I never heard from him again but he remains a big part of my childhood memories. By the time he moved, he was able to walk. He was lucky for sure! My point is that we need to stop and remember that not everyone is as fortunate as most, and I do not mean financially.

 

Well, it’s that time again to get my butt going. Let’s do this!

 

See you at the track!

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

If you promote it , they will come

Well Hello 2016…… 2015 was overall a good year. The downside was that we lost too many family and friends. I don’t go to church much; it would probably burn down if I did go. I do believe when you pass away, you really aren’t gone. I believe that for those who have passed, their spirit lives on in many ways. When I lost my mom at 20 years old, I did some very stupid stuff. Trust me, I look back and wonder how did I make this long? I know the answer to that is that my mother was watching over me. The signs are there that they are watching and giving us direction. With so many gone I feel I have to fight to keep their legacy alive and do what I love to make them proud.

2016.It just has a different ring to it. For me, I am looking forward to the New Year and a new start. We won the 2015 IHRA Pro Mod Championship but not the way we wanted to win it. We have been busy working on our program and at the same time adding new partners. Just like many others we aren’t highly funded, we aren’t millionaires so we watch our budget closely. It’s a tough sport but where else can you go to be part of the biggest family of people around.

So many things are going on in the world of racing today. NHRA has a new President, new TV package, ‘New’ Pro Stock cars, New TV announcers, Pro Mod on TV….. I know, I know I’m talking NHRA, not the sanctioning body we currently run. But you have to give the new guy credit for making changes. Some changes may not be liked by all, but this change is bringing a new direction for the sport. We still need a lot more to attract new marketing partners and fans. Time will tell.

IHRA has made many changes as well. A new President coming in soon. A new CEO and CFO for IRG are in place. They have a lot of work to do in a short period of time and like NHRA the changes are going to affect many. Will you see full fields this year? Personally, I don’t think you will. They certainly have some big plans for the 2017 season. The new CEO is going to rebrand the IHRA for the better. We all have to give him the support in doing this, including myself. I just hope it all works out for everyone.

PDRA has a new Marketing team as well for 2016 and hopefully the fans will be in the seats this year. I went to the PDRA world finals. I’m sorry to say, but it took entirely too long to run just one round of qualifying. I hope they can shorten this show up as it really has one of the best car counts as series go, and the racing is highly competitive. You know this year is going to be even faster and more exciting!

As for us, we are working hard on Stella. Dina named her after her grandmother, a stubborn Red Headed Italian. Sorry Stella but this car needs to eat some pasta, have a glass of Vino and start being cooperative. We struggled so much last year that we wanted to walk away. But we don’t quit. Dina and I built this team together from the ground up, we cannot see walking away even at the toughest point. Our long range plans are still to return to being a two car team in the future. Who knows maybe we will change it up all together. Time will tell.

This winter we pulled everything apart (with Stella) and found the issues that had been plaguing us. It was a breath of fresh air but also a kick in the teeth, but at least we found them. We also sent Stella to Chris Cline Race Cars for a ‘Spa Treatment’ and they did an amazing job.

As ‘The Rumors Turn’:

It seems the ‘Kitchen Bitch’ session has already begun this year. Being an Ex-Corporate Monkey I know how big companies work. (Dina loves Corporate America, LOL.. not so much) We love IHRA. But truth be told, IHRA has been a mess for years. When you have a limited budget, minimal sponsors, your expense is higher than your income, among other issues it is time to sell and move on or make changes. That is what so many owners have done in the past. Have you ever attended a ‘Monster Jam show? It’s packed with people of all ages. Dina and I went to one and holy crap It was fun. Even when the trucks stopped running they had ENTERTAINMENT. Not just shooting shirts into the crowd or trivia time. This show makes a ton of money and keeps the fans happy. They cater to the fans. IHRA needs to take notes from Monster Jam. Great racing CAN be incorporated with a show atmosphere. Are they going to turn this around? If they put the right people in place and have a plan of action with dollars behind them, it can be done. How do they fill the stands and bring in the fans? The same way other sports do; provide an ENTERTAINING show. Not every fan wants to see a race car, some like motorcycles some dragsters. You get the picture. Wally Parks had a mission and I am sure he isn’t happy with what he sees. Ok, I am getting off course here. My damn Italian-ness is getting the best of me. So back to the ‘Kitchen Bitch’ Session. In 2015 IHRA had been ‘re-named’ It Has Rained Again. (IHRA) due to mother nature’s wrath. Then came the management changes, and even more management changes. At the PRI show back in 2014 racers were excited. Excited that Pro Mod was back and were wanting to make plans to attend. But the payout to win was not what teams had expected, ultimately nor was the exposure. Many teams decided not to attend. I have learned there were other reasons, but those seem to be at the top. The teams that did attend, all raced hard and put on a great show for the fans.

If you are a Corporate CFO and CEO you look at bottom line. Is the income in the Red or Black? All Corporations do this. You can’t run in the negative for ever, so changes are required. From what we have all been told, in 2016 very few if any changes will be implemented but 2017 will be like a grand re-opening (for IHRA). Now, here is where I put my Corporate Hat on.I am sure I will get into trouble for this; but you can’t wait to bail the water from the ship when the ship is already sinking. If you have the funds to improve staff, infrastructure, marketing, sales and sponsors do it NOW. I worked for a Fortune 100 company and was hired to redesign their failing Global IT department. I had 120 Days to put a project in place, present it to the board and act on it after it was signed off on. It was a $19 million dollar project that initiated on my 5th month of employment with that company. And yes, that project was successful. If a company has a problems and has the funds to fix the problem, they need to fix it now. Not wait until it’s too late. I am sure the boss will put me on notice for writing this but it needs to be said. What IHRA needs to do is a create publicly written plan of action for all of the members to review. These members support them by paying their membership every year, not to mention the investment made by participating therefore members should be entitled to disclosure. Wouldn’t it be nice to see financial statements, action plans, new ideas, from IHRA? Wouldn’t it create a feeling of security and trust in the organization? I could go on and on, but I have said enough. Time will tell what will happen with this organization. I for one DO want to see it succeed.

Whew! That was long! Another topic that really gets my Italian up and the only sports venue really doing this correctly is… NASCAR. Yep.Driver Promotion. Who drives the 24 car? I bet you know! Most the teams in NASCAR have the same looking car, of course with different sponsors. They are referred to by their number, yet you know their name. Why? Because they are promoted correctly as a driver. Ya Ya They are on TV. Big deal.The biggest deal? The fans are in the stands AND NASCAR is promoting the drivers outside of the race itself. Go look at their Web Page and then look at any racing web site. NASCAR’s has apps where you can listen to the drivers and crews talk. The disadvantage? The fans can’t go into the pit area. The venues (and series) need to promote our drivers (not specific drivers) all of our drivers. The only way we can grow our sport is through marketing and promoting our drivers and personalizing it for the fans. NASCAR relates drivers to car numbers. You know who they are. The drivers are the stars. Drag racing relates drivers to what? When you watch NASCAR the winner drives into the winner’s circle and has a great celebration. The fans are involved. The teams are involved. The winner in Drag Racing is at top end with 3 camera people receiving the championship trophy with a bit of pyro. WOW. Alert the media. How exciting. Makes me want to go out and buy a ticket. NOT!! Look, I know what everyone has to say about Kenny Knowling, but the man knew how to market the sport. We attended ADRL and the stands were packed and payouts were great. Why? He marketed the drivers as well as the event. He utilized local stores, radio and the internet. I learned a lot from watching him over the years about how to market. Who is the most famous Soccer player you can name besides Pele? David Beckham right? He has 55 Million people on his FB. Why is he so popular? He is a good soccer player, but not the best. He was marketed geniusly. That is the world we live in. In today’s times it is hard to have fans come to a race and keep them entertained. We do know that fans will come to a race to support their favorite driver. Both the series sponsor and the sports venue have to do a better job at marketing and entertaining as well as promoting drivers. We have the best sport at our fingertips, with fans of all ages and we are not capitalizing on it. In Drag Racing, fans are entitled to come into the pit area to talk with drivers and the crew and see the cars up close. Each driver is a potential ‘David Beckham’, the crews are the refs and line guys. Beckham scoring a goal is like a racer winning the round. Our winning dollars suck but we love the sport more than we love money. I don’t care if you race a Junior Dragster or a Top Fuel we need the series and the venues to assist in promoting the drivers. Drivers ARE the sport and they bring the fans.

Well, I best get back to work. The boss will be checking my progress and once she sees I didn’t do much I will be promoting my resume to the job boards. Enjoy the 2016 season.

See you all at the track!

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Andrew Parise- Calling all personalities

As I sit in the office and work on proposals, the racecar, life and figuring out 2016 and our future, life still goes on. Erica Enders won her 2nd championship which is an amazing accomplishment. Back to back Championships. One hell of a driver. Antron Brown wins the Top Fuel Championship for 2015, give it up for Antron. He rode a Motorcycle in NHRA and now drives for Top Fuel and is amazing. He is a funny guy too. I saw his act in person with telling John Force he could have been his father in law. It was priceless.

 

Not to be Debbie downer but Dina and I lost some friends in the last couple of months. George Barris was an amazing man, he built so many cars for the movies. For me to meet and hang out with such an icon was amazing. A close friend of ours passed away, Joan she was 82. She was such a spitfire, always on the go and full of life. She was one in a million.

 

So, I got to thinking about all the people I have met in my life and what they have accomplished. Then I looked at my own life. The questions would not stop in my head, yes I do have some sort of a Brian ….oh, I mean Brain. But seriously, what legacy am I going to leave behind. I have no kids that I know of. My Ex-wife wouldn’t run me over and my current wife only wants to go to Aruba. Okay, I will have to explain this one then get back to thought. We were at a race and people were talking about vacations, I said “you have to go to Aruba you will love it. Right Dina? You love Aruba!” She shook her head side to side…(No). I then said “ya remember when we went there? It was awesome.” Well the fourth shake she said, “No dumba** …wrong Wife,” Well, she knows how to kill a party, right?

Anyway, many of the people I have met have left a legacy. Scotty Canon, George Barris, Butch Patrick( Eddie Munster) Sonny Shroyer, Sonny Leonard and so many others. What I am leaving behind besides dirty underwear and bills? How about you? Ya, you the one reading this. Dina was in the Ice Capades, IHRA Champ and other ‘crap’ (LOL) and here is me. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be remembered as the Pro Mod Driver with a bad background AKA Bam Bam. Do I want to be some movie star or music professional? No. I have to admit people singing your song during the World Series is cool. I suck at acting and my voice will only get me in gangster flicks anyway. I guess I have to find my legacy and make my mark. The same goes to all of us. Anyone can become a Trump, you just have to find out what your great at and do it better than anyone else.

 

I did not come from a racing background. No big name or big dollar family behind me (or Dina). We have fought very hard to have what we have and we will continue to fight for it. It amazes me that (in life, especially in sports) people find it ok to label. People do not know you (even some who do), are willing to assume what they come up with in their heads is correct. Worse than that, they will pass along false information without a thought.

 

For those not aware, we have been running Pro Mod for over 10 years. Amazingly, we still are treated as if it is our rookie year. Many times unfortunately from the media outlets (that are well aware of our history). Ask yourself these questions: would John Force be as big if he didn’t win one championship? Would Pro Mod be anything in NHRA without Roger Burgess? The answer is of course…no. For some it is out of sight out of mind. You may be reading this saying to yourself, who is Roger Burgess? Roger put a lot money and effort into the sport of Pro Mod (in NHRA). In my opinion, he was dumped on. He made a difference and revived Pro Mod. My point of all of this is I am so tired of the same people in the same magazines and media sites and the ‘Hero to Zero’ theory. Every magazine wants to be the next big thing, yet they are too afraid to think out of the box. Especially in Drag Racing.

 

Unfortunately, drag racing has lost something along the way. It has become stagnant. I watch these top end interviews in our sport and I want to jump through the TV and smack some of these people! Where did the personality go? We need the old loud and crazy John Force back. Bring back Scelzi for Scelzi says. Many have lost touch with being funny, having a personality and showing emotions.I will admit; Dina is all personality in an interview. She’s a ham and knows how to ‘sell it’. I have to say, if I lost as Greg Anderson did, I would not have been so blahhhh, about it. Really, that is not him. Not the Greg we all know. Come on, where is the urge to scream aloud? Bring some the attitudes back. For example, one of the biggest and ‘baddest’ moves of the year was Jimmy Prock going to DSR. It was ‘mentioned’ as a 5-minute conversation between JFR and DSR. What? No hype? That was the perfect opportunity to engage fans in and outside the sport. We need Steve Austin vs the Rock attitude to bring back the hype. Talk crap again. It has been said that the corporate ‘shirts’ won’t like it. What B.S. Did anyone listen to Ron Capps in his interview at Vegas? He was the only one with a personality when explaining about having his corporate ‘shirts’ at the racetrack. Where is the excitement in the pits? On the starting line? In the staging lanes? I do not personally know Stevie Fast, but he is a funny bastard. In his article, he said he would be as loud as he is in PM even if he went to a TF or FC class. As racers, we need to have rivalries. We have to call them out. Think about it. Think about the rivalries from the past. Pat Mussi had Tony Christian, Garlits and Muldowney, Ford vs Chevy I can go on. Even Dina and I have had a great rivalry! There’s none today. Yes, it is amazing to watch our sport and the speeds we run. We lost the human factor of the sport and I have to blame on the drivers. This season, at an IHRA race Quain Stott and Jimmy Rector were in the staging lanes ‘trash talking’. It was awesome to hear this and see it again and the fans loved it.

 

The sport has changed in the last couple of years from actually driving the cars to essentially being a monkey in the seat. Be advised, this is going to piss a lot of people off, but TOO BAD!!!! In many cases, driving a racecar has become merely point and shoot. (I am speaking of PM here). It has become a matter of no shifting, leaving off a button, traction control, self-deploying chutes, automatic power and fuel shut-off. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in safety 100% but it seems that soon it will be a remote control racing. I encourage promoters to put on a race where the rules are: no auto shifters, leaving off a clutch pedal only (regardless if it is a converter car). Hey, If Erica Enders cuts .000 to Vincent Nobile’s .015 (they leave off a clutch pedal) why do so many need to leave off a damn button in a PM? Oh, many will tell you because PM is faster class. That too is B.S. Unfortunately; drivers have become robots and a bit lazy. Many seem afraid of the actual ‘competitive nature’ the sport is known for. Just for example, Dina leaves off a clutch pedal (the Cadillac is converter driven) and she shifts. Just as Tommy D’Aprile shift his PX car and he runs 3.50’s in the eighth. As I said earlier, Pro Stock drivers do still drive their cars. We need to take the ‘robot’ out of the car and get back to driving. Bring back the excitement! Put a fire under your asses.

 

The sport of drag racing needs a facelift. Bring back the excitement. Sponsors are going to other sports because (as I said) drag racing has become stagnant. Look at soccer games. The fans scream and are a part of the game. How about 40,000 baseball fans singing in unison to a Billy Joel song? Fans want to be involved. Oil downs can be long and boring. Do we really think that free t-shirts are the answer to keeping fans excited and involved? Utilize that time to engage the fans. Do something different. Think out of the box. We have all the technology in the world. From mobile devices to apps to find the closest restroom but yet we have no idea how entertain fans.

 

Since winning the IHRA Pro Mod World Championship, things have been busy. We are already working on our combo and getting some new things worked out for Stella. At this point, it is still undetermined as to what series DPR will run. IHRA race schedule is very tough (as far as travel) this year. With our personal goals in mind, I am not sure if we are going to be able to commit to that or not. PDRA has some of the fastest cars and great competition in our class. Stella can be very competitive there. NHRA RPM has had a great year with high car counts and outstanding teams. We hope to know more after the PRI show (in December).

 

Well, the boss has me on the run again. Stay tuned for an exciting 2016! Thank you all for the continued support.

 

See you at the races!

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Andrew’s 2015 DPR Season Recap

A 2015 season recap and beyond!

We started this Pro Modified journey a long time ago. Our good friend Dave Tomasino brought me on to crew for him on his Nitro Coupe Camaro and opened the door for us by introducing us to so many people. Another good friend Carl Speiring then began the process by putting our two (his and hers) Pro Mod Corvettes together with his crew. I went on to win numerous races and set an NHRA record. Dina while winning a few, seemed to struggle with her car. Mine could be driven down a dirt road and hers as she would say was “like wrestling an alligator with epilepsy.” Yet she seemed to like the challenge. Gotta love a girl with guts.

 We like many people went through some financial and personal issues and had to revaluate our racing program. After struggling to stay out of living in a cardboard box we are again moving in the right direction. You can either just walk away from your dream or fight the fight and keep it alive. I am not one to give up; although sometimes I wish I new how to.

 We committed to IHRA Crower Pro Mod series as soon as it was announced at the PRI show. Crower even used Stella the Cadillac to announce the comeback! I remember watching 60 cars compete for a 16 car field in IHRA back in the 90’s. Will this ever happen again? I don’t know. But I am sure this class will grow in the coming years. We attended every race, even the one at Grand Bend Motorplex in Canada. At the banquet, Scott Gardner made the comment referencing wondering ‘how I got into in Canada’. Well, I still don’t know how I did it. Must be my good looks.

Each race we attended in the beginning of the year we had issues. We broke a wheel stud in Bradenton. Stella drifted to the wall in West Palm in eliminations causing a loss. Those are just the issues that scratch the surface…

Frustrated, I then brought the car to Quain Stott to have him go over the suspension after West Palm. I drove 15 hours 8 of them in a ice storm in the Carolinas. Lets just say they don’t know what ice is or how to deal with it properly. After Quain setup the car we had other issues. We decided to bring Quain on for the weekend to figure out our Engine program. After two runs, the car goes a .977 60 foot. I was like a little kid in the candy store. But we were still not without our issues. The crank had a couple cracks in it and let loose during the test session. We put our spare motor in and off we went to Cordova. I was so jacked and confident that we could finally run a number. I put the tune up in it that we just ran in testing and…… it was a pig. Well, we made it to the finals at Cordova but lost. The pig wouldn’t run. I was ready to turn her into bacon! Back to the Dr.Stott we go for another test session. Move this, change that. Bam, 60 foot is back and car is running again. But now we have another issue. The driver forgot to show up! She was physically in the car, but mentality she was wasn’t there. Now SHE was behind the car. Not good.

 Now, during testing it took Dina a while to back up (after the burnout). Me being the calm and cool guy asked oh so politely, “what the hell is taking you so long to back up?” She was moving in the car. That led to a little ‘ Italian meatball flinging’ fight. She was just not comfortable which led to changing the seat position a couple of times with numerous seat pours. Next,  we had a problem with the chute button (and lever) not working when going down the track. Again, the meatball flinging ensued and that led to a flying tripod (ok, don’t ask…). So, as you can see I am not meant to crew. I am a driver plain and simple.

 So, we still have our backup motor in and finally have the car running well. We attended the race at Maryland International Raceway, this was Dina’s first time back to the track after she crashed there a couple years ago. Tums (antacid) were my friend that day. Dina went from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and I was happy as could be. The car ran well. Dina won 1st round taking out Ruben T. who was the points leader at the time. But yet again, the weather turned on us and the race was postponed. We had to Run Billy Harper at US 131 in the finals. We went to US 131 with some new parts and pieces thinking it will help us. But it bit us instead. We missed the test session that we needed and thrashed all day. Not what I had planed on. This race was Quain’s first race our Tuner. Billy and his team are one of the best and have a killer race car. We knew we would need a miracle to beat him but no miracle happened. We lost the MIR race at US 131. Dina then had a chute malfunction racing Steve Matusek in the first round of eliminations and went into the sand. It could have been a lot worse, but she did a good job and the car had minimal damage. The cleanup was not fun we are still finding rocks in Stella.She is thick headed anyway.

We  went home,quickly regrouped and got her ready again for Canada. This was a race that we didn’t plan on attending until the last minute. At 12:30am we entered Canada. Quain put a hell of tune up in the car against Bill Lutz and we lost. We lost at the tree then Bill had issues and she drove around him only to pull the chutes early. She asks over the radio “who won?”…  I said, “not you.” As I picked up her to tow the car back she said, ” Sorry.Damn, I’m just not coming around to this car.” Now me being the loving and caring husband I only had nice things to say. Well, that was my intentions at first, but that didn’t happen. You see, we are both competitive people. But, we are two different drivers. I get in the car and go nuts. Rock the car, talk loud to it, I get very excited. My Crew guys don’t like putting me in the beams because I don’t blink and I have a death stare. Dina has more of the easy eyes, they will burn you but is very focused in a different way. She doesn’t get excited like me. It drives me crazy at times.

 So, now we going into the Finals we were only 31 points ahead of Bill Lutz. Well, I decided to make things real interesting and build a new engine combo for the finals. Ya, this should be great and it should run awesome. That was the thought process. So we ordered heads, pistions, rings, crank etc. The game plan was to put the engine together and go dyno it. Right. I was better off winning the lotto. We had pieces showing up every other day finally we got all the pieces and Burnie was able to it all together for us. But you know it isn’t a simple bolt together. Overnight parts… Wednesday finish up the engine…Saturday install it….Get it running Monday. Oh, ya… one week prior to the finals.

So, now it is off to test. Now comes the fun part. Of course we have weather moving in. Some storm named ‘Joe Quin’ (Joaquin).Damn you Mother Nature! We drive from Pa to Virginia on Thursday and park at the track only to see rain. Go to dinner with friends and head out Friday morning for South Georgia to test Saturday. I wake up Saturday morning with a Stomach virus. Cant get out of bed all day except to visit the bathroom. Okay, we will have to test Sunday. Of Course it is raining Sunday morning and I look like a Marvin the  Martian, but the boss says Suck it up Buttercup! Rain stops but track is cold. Three hits and guess what? The car is a toilet….again. I went from green to greener . I just spent all this money to go slower? Well, “The Doctor” goes home Sunday night and Monday guess who has Stomach virus? The Boss!!!! So we stay at the track all day Monday. I am stuck watching TV. All I can say is “REALLY?” What is with these reality shows? Orange County Housewives? Naked People in the forest? Who watches this crap? Oh, ya….my wife!

 So, we finally get on the road Tuesday and head to Memphis. With the Marvin the Martian at the wheel and the White Shadow in the back we arrive Tuesday night. Thankfully the Doctor did find the remedy for the sick motor.

In the 1st round of Eliminations, Dina Had to race Robert Patrick and it was a pedal fest! Bill had to Race Rubin T and Bill shook and Rubin won the round securing the Championship win for DPR. We had to race Billy in the Round 2, and the dew cam in fast. Dina Lost at the tree, as she couldn’t see the tree. I was very good and didn’t say a word, I have a huge hole in my cheek from biting it too. Billy Harper is Dina’s monkey(on her back). She is 2 for 2 with Billy. I used to have to Race Tim O’hare and he was my monkey. A hell of a driver, but if I lost to him I hated it.

I have never worked as hard as I did this year in getting things done. I do not think I have ever had to deal with such crazy issues in my career until now. No matter how many times I went over things, they just did not seem to work out properly. But in the end DPR got the win and that is what matters. 2015 IHRA Pro Mod World Champion! That has a nice ring to it!

 I have to thank our marketing partners for standing behind this Dina Parise Racing team and providing us with great products and services. NGK, CRC, LAT Oil, DJ Safety, USA Auto Supply, SpeedWire, Hoosier,Stainless Works,Motorsports Unlimited , Browell, Hussey Performance.

 I dragged Quain Stott out of semi-retirement and I am sure he wants revenge. But this guy is amazing. He is the most humble guy you will ever meet. He has so much knowledge that I think he scares himself at times. Not many people can drive, tune, wrench, weld and everything else. It is a great honor to have him part of our racing family. Like they say every man needs a great lady, well Cynthia is amazing. Quain is not allowed at the race track without her. She keeps him in line, don’t let that sweet southern niceness fool you. I know she can out tune most people in this sport. Having people like this in your life can only bring better days and we look forward to it.

 My brother (from another mother) Butch Branzelle. We met Butch when he worked at VMP during a Super Chevy Event 15 years ago. I have watched his son Corey grow up and we had some fun times. He is always on the positive side of things. I wanted this championship so badly but thought I blew it with the new engine combo. He said, “We’ve got this,” and we did. Thank you brother for always going above and beyond.

Thank you to Charlie Saccoccio AKA ‘Uncle Mel’ for not only making us laugh…but for his constant support of DPR!

 The Boss, Dina Parise. You finally beat me. You are the IHRA World Champion in Pro Mod and you have joined the list of so many others. I am so proud of you. Sometimes I am right. Not often, but some times I am. DPR works. You fought the good fight. Being the loving, caring and calm husband I am this is why you did so good this year. LOL… If we had a reality TV show it would be a ½ hour of BEEEEEEPPPPPPPS. Yes, I drove the car from behind and on the radio. Yes, I was a thorn in your side. No, you wouldn’t have it any other way. Well maybe one other way…. a second car to shut me up! Well, you’re the champ so get to work and find us that money tree so I can get back in the seat OR deal with me next year. EEKKKKK !!!

 I cant thank enough the people behind the scenes as well. To all that I have annoyed at all times of the night to help us, thank you.

 Life is funny, you never know what it brings and somehow it has brought this team together. To everyone that helped us……Thank you.

 Mother Nature must have had soggy cereal this year, she was not a happy girl. The staff at IHRA broke their butts to give us a great track and safe place to race. It wasn’t easy for them at times dealing with us, the weather and everything else on their plates. But they provided the best surface to race on. The IHRA safety crew goes above and beyond to make sure we are all safe at all times. Oh Ya, the M word….. Management. What can you say about them. Oh be nice people. Seriously, Scott Gardner is the new president and he has hands full. Making sure everybody smiles and keeps the operation flowing. Royce Miller is the COO and everybody knows this man never stops. Sharon, Russel , Ken ,Steve , Howie, Dan, Chris……. I hope I did not leave anyone out! Thank you all for what you do and for the long hours you put in!

 Crower Stepped up and helped with Pro Mod coming back to IHRA. A big hug to them for doing this. As we all know Bill Lutz has been the voice of Pro Mod for IHRA. Love him or disagree with him he still worked hard for this deal with IHRA. He gave us (DPR) hell  at the last couple races. Rubin T, (Touchie Feelie) I owe you for taking out Lutz. Check is in the mail. If you don’t know Rubin he is kinda like the Nutty professor , owner of Prolite Batteries and one hell of a driver. D-B-R the three amigos. But If I have my way I will be the spoiler for 2016.

 A big Congrats and Thank you to our DPR fans. We couldn’t do this without all the support and love we receive. So, my promise to all of you is that I will try my hardest to be back in a car next year. Trust me it will be very exciting. Get ready for a crazy 2016 !

See you at the Races!

Andrew ‘BamBam’ Parise

Next Stop the IHRA World Finals!

It has been a different year of racing for me and I think everybody around me. Stepping out of the seat and being a full time crew member for this Dina Parise Racing team is harder to do than it looks. Like Dina says, I am driving the car from standing behind her and that is hard on everyone, but especially hard on her. We are both very competitive people, and we are two different drivers. All I know is I have to get back in the car next year or I will strapping myself to the parachutes. I am sure Dina will love to pull that handle knowing it would send me sailing!

 

Drag racing is a great sport, but like so many other sports it has its Pros and Cons. What I find very aggravating  is if you don’t have the ‘Big Name’ some companies just do not care about you. Pro Mod racing is still (to some)not considered the ‘big leagues’ . Let me tell you, it isn’t cheap to run these machines. We (DPR) do not look for special treatment from anyone. But it is irritating and insulting when companies just plain do not call you back or respond it inquiries regarding product. Better yet, when a company makes a mistake and never acknowledges it or gives you ridiculous time line for a product delivery when you know others are receiving theirs in a timely fashion. Frankly, it just burns my ass.

I formerly worked for a fortune 100 company in New York. We worked with Doctors, dentists and other companies that we acquired and we were held to strict time lines. Yes, you will always have an exception to the rules but at a cost. It’s not rocket science it’s called expediting. My point is that everyone’s money is the same color, GREEN. No matter how much they have or do not have it’s still green. Every sale should be treated the same way with the same amount of respect. This is one more reason more and more teams are now making their own parts rather than purchasing them. This in turn will cause companies to close or at the least cut jobs. Those who can not make parts will miss races due to the fact that they can not receive parts in a ‘timely manner’ due to the fact that their team ‘status’ is not ‘outstanding’ enough to require prompt service. That needs to change.

 

Next stop for this DPR team is the IHRA world finals ! They are coming up next month October 9th-10th at  Memphis International Raceway and it has come down to the wire. It has been a tough year for all of us. Dina has been struggling with this new car. From getting comfortable to just driving it. Like I say all the time a bad car will make a good driver bad. Not that the car is ‘bad’ but you get the picture. But, we have got our driver back now! We started off in Florida, at Bradenton we had to bow down due to a broken wheel stud. In West Palm, Stella (the Cadillac Pro mod) kept going left, Dina was trying to reel it in but couldn’t get it worked out. We then went to a back-up motor and found out in Cordova it was just a pig. We made some changes and in Budds Creek it finally started coming around. At US 131 Martin I changed a couple things that back fired causing us not to be able to test. To top that off, we had issues with the chutes and Dina went into the sand. In Canada we had the car working very well, but Dina was not on her game. This is the first year I can say that it has been a real struggle of just stupid stuff coupled with  rough driving. Quain Stott has been a huge help to this team, from tuning to helping Dina regain her confidence. I am no way near the tuner/driver that Quain is. He is just a scary man. Not scary looking just tuning wise. He has taken a car that wasn’t working to going .977 60ft and hasn’t even touched much. Behind every man is a great woman, well in my case not so much (LOL). Yup I hear the ‘Fired’ word again. Actually, Cynthia is behind scenes for Quain and let me just say she is probably a better tuner then most of us out here. They make a great team and for us we are honored to have them part of our family even though Dina sucked all year. Oh boy ,I feel a war coming on!

I lost my mother when I was 20 years old and I became a bit bitter from it. I did things that most would never dream of and have seen things most shouldn’t. Now, I don’t believe in mediums or palm readers, things like that. But, this year someone came to me and told me things about my mother nobody would ever know. The one thing that was said was she doesn’t want you angry anymore. For me, it took a couple days to register. I never got along with my father and after my mother died it was worse. Anyway, I get short and angry with Dina very quickly. Like I said we are two different drivers and me riding her ass is not helping her. Really, I am surprised I don’t have a black eye by now. But truth be told….I am glad she doesn’t think like Lorena Bobbitt either.

 

It is going to be a great final race. I have been hard on Dina all year and I want this race to be fun. Everybody will be throwing the kitchen sink at their tune-ups trying to win this championship. We are in number one in points. According to some, if we win we will be ‘paper champions’ only because we haven’t won a race….Yet. Well, being in 2 finals and attending every race, fighting and digging to earn points makes champions too. For me this race is going to be about having fun. Let the trash talking begin, but we as a team will enjoy ourselves. I am sure the Crower Cams (thanks to them for bringing Pro Mod back to IHRA!) Party is going to be crazy as always. We are very fortunate to be able to race and have the team we do with the BEST fans and Marketing Partners in the world. We appreciate everyone’s support! So, we want to see everyone at the World Finals. It is going to be a crazy and exciting event.

You might even see one (or 3)of us in a TUTU….?

See you in Memphis!

Andrew ~Bam Bam~ Parise

Andrew Parise- You can’t take it with you

So all in all it has been a tough year for us . Stella (the Pro Mod Cadillac) in the beginning of the year was a complete Italian biotch. We brought on new brain trust and so it seems Stella is in love with Quain Stott. She reacts well to everything he does. But then we have a problem with another short Italian.  No not me,that would be Dina Parise I am referring to. A bad car can make a good driver seem bad. But then when you take that scenario and swap it, that same driver may become very hesitant. I can tell you the road trips home were not so much fun at times. It’s hard to be looking in from the outside. As a driver I am more critical. So, my mouth opens before my brain tells it not to ( most of the time). Quain is helping me with that. He has put these keywords in place… “When you smell trouble, Lift Andrew.” Let’s just say, I’m still learning that one.

 So here we sit.31 points ahead in the IHRA Crower Pro Mod Series. You can taste it and feel it. All you want is that championship. I know Bill Lutz is bringing his A++++ game. He has been fast for sure, but let’s just say this ; we are all in. We don’t quit, or give up the fight. We will give it everything we have and then some. We owe this championship to a lot of people that have stuck with us through the years.

 This is more then a championship for me it is very personal. When your told you can’t do things or you won’t amount to much it makes you want it more. This is not only a big accomplishment for our team it is personal as well. I work hard at the shop on my own but we work together as a family. Win or lose we have still made it. As a family.

 Life is funny, some people are blessed to have best friends from childhood. Others have few close friends. I have come to realize lately that people will throw you under the bus regardless of friendship, just to benefit themselves. I didn’t grow up that way. I grew up to give respect and to have loyalty. I will continue to give it if it is reciprocated.

 There are those who feel as if their larger bank account allows them to treat others with disrespect. Frankly, that really pisses me off. This is why Dina does not allow me out without my leash. LOL! Think about it this way; No matter how much money you have you can’t take it with you. Take your bank accounts away and what do you have? Stop and smell the roses and really think about it. My father spent his life thinking he was going to ‘take it with him’, then BAM a stroke and gone.So, enjoy your time. Say excuse me, thank you hold a door, say good morning (rather than a crabby grunt). Never see anyone as beneath you. Help those that want to be helped. My wife always quotes Ralph Kramden “Be kind to people on the way up because you will meet the same people on the way down”. So true.

 Well, it’s back to the grind for this little man. I’m off the leash and it’s time to get going. Wish us luck. Thank you to everyone that has helped us and supported us all these years. Hey, maybe I can get back to driving next year. A championship would help the cause!

See you at the Finals!

Andrew ~ Bam Bam ~ Parise

Photos Courtesy : Raceworks.com

To race or to crew and everything in between!

Two races down and more to go. We started out in PA, went to VA and picked up Butch B. our crew Dina Parise Racing member, then drove to Atlanta to pick up Dave J (another DPR Crew member). We then we headed to South Georgia Motorsports Park to get some testing in. Mother Nature had continued with her wrath of crappy weather and ee got rained out. We decided to leave and head straight to Bradenton Motorsports Park (the first IHRA ,Crower Pro mod event).

 

But as with this DPR team, there is NEVER a dull moment. So, on the way to Bradenton, I figured let’s get the rig washed and shiny for the race. I spent 130 bucks (much to the boss’ dismay) at the Blue Beacon Truck wash. They did a great job. We looked good, for a whole 10 minutes! Then, looking up the road, I see headlights (in mid-afternoon). Next thing you know, it down pours for 10 minutes straight! Seemed we were following the cloud too! I wasn’t very happy to say the least.

 

Bradenton (IHRA), was not a good debut for Stella. We loaded everything in the trailer including the kitchen sink. Ultimately, a $22 part broke and caused us to bow down. We had the part over-nighted and stayed to test on Tuesday. Thank fully that went well. So, we loaded up and were off to Palm Beach International Raceway.

 

We enjoyed some much needed R&R while we were in Palm Beach. It was nice to get away and just relax. But we know better than to get used to it! The R&R ended quickly.

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Stella (the Cadillac ) seems to be standing up to her Italian name! She can be a real Biotch. After much hard work and A LOT of sweat, we finally got the car down the track. Unfortunately, Stella was anything but Stellar. Certainly not the numbers we wanted, but we will take it. She is coming around and we know she can’t stay biotchy forever. In the end, we didn’t want to leave Florida. We decided to stay an extra day and enjoy the weather.

 

It is great to be back competing with IHRA, where Pro Mod began. From the racers to the safety crew to the fans it is an amazing place to race! We got to hang out with our friends as well as making some new ones. We even played some football. It was like old times again. Right now the Pro Mod car count is down, but it will certainly improve as time goes on. As I said, IHRA is a great place to race.Palm Beach 4

 

We went back to PA to regroup. Since we can never seem to stay put for too long,we decided to go out and test at Virginia Motorsports Park. We tested with the assistance of with none other than Quain Stott. Truthfully, Stella must like Southerners ! She ran great! She 60ft’d in thr .980’s all day. Needless to say we ran a 3.99 to the 1/8 right off the trailer on a green track (and Dina lifted a bit early).We backed it up with a bunch of 4.0’s. It was a great day of testing. I was good to see Stella and Dina going down the track and at a good pace!

 

I’m finding it hard to go from being a Driver to being a full time crew member. I do miss the seat and hauling butt down the track. But this is the year we need to get the boss in the winners circle. I can’t give too much away but we will be making some changes real soon. I don’t like being stagnant with our program. We will keep you posted on the changes.

 

Changing gears: The other day I was listening to NASCAR on SiriusXM radio as I was driving. Yes I said the “N” word. I was listening as a couple of fans called in and started to complain about the format, the tracks, and more. It was very sad to hear. Taking the time to answer was Jeff Gordon. He then said to the fans; with all this complaining and unhappiness maybe NASCAR should just shut down all together and cancel races. After listening to more, it made me think about our sport of Drag Racing. The IHRA, NHRA, PDRA and other series’. Well guess what? We are really in the same boat as NASCAR. I came to the upsetting realization: It seems there is a tendency to pick apart the different (drag racing) series rather than promoting and supporting them individually. I can say, I have been guilty of this as well. The various series’ compliment the teams (and their Marketing Partners) that run them. If we continue bashing any series, we run the risk of less companies wanting to invest or be involved. The result? Even more teams will be forced to sit out. As most know, drag racing costs money, lots of money. The faster you go the more funds you need. So, regardless of what series anyone is racing (or a fan of) please help promote it even if you don’t like it.

 

We have a great race schedule for the rest of 2015. I wish we could hit the lotto so we can race every weekend, but ’til that happens we will have to keep working. Well one of us has to work….