Life is for Living and Racing

The 2015 Dina Parise Racing season is under way. Teams are getting their last minute items completed and before we know it racing will be in full swing. Things are flying by lately, the days are nights and the nights are days, you know when you have to ask what day is it, you are shot.

 

The new business (Andi-Con Performance) is coming together, all the pieces are coming together nicely. Just taking a little more time then I had planned. We are OPEN for business as of February 9th with a grand opening planned for in April. It is going to be a huge opening with a car show, great food and of course show off the new business. I worked in Corporate America for over 20 years, wore many hats during that period. Someone told me a long time ago, you won’t get rich working for someone else and it is very true. But isn’t all about the money, I want to be excited about what I do, provide a reason for waking up and going to work. With this new adventure I look forward to making a difference.

 

I cannot wait to go testing with the Dina Parise Racing Cadillac CTSV. We have to finish some new things and make our final changes. It has been way too long and can’t take looking at everything sitting still. Living in PA has the same weather as NY but it has some serious winds which makes it extremely cold. I hate the cold, did I tell you…. I hate the cold. Well the cold is close to Mushrooms which gross me out. Anyway, running one car is going to be a lot of fun this year and different. We run a converter so our maintenance is bit easier than the guys with the clutches. But who knows what the future brings. I was always the guinea pig, well now the boss can be. Plus, not driving is going to give me a lot of time be a thorn in the side to the boss.

 

2015 seemed like it was going okay, until I got a call that my father had a major stroke, he was found by my middle brother sitting in the car in a supermarket parking lot. He was there for 6 hours in 20 degree weather. My family has a bad health history with my mother dying at the age of 53 to Cancer, my grandmother had a stroke and now this. As many know my father and I have different outlooks in life and had major differences. He has helped many people in his life. He was a Lt. Col in the Air Force and an Art teacher. He was recovering well for a bit but then took a turn for the worse and passed on. I was an Altar boy (in the Catholic Church) at one time. Yes Me an Altar Boy. This was fun as we found out the red stuff was really good wine. All I can say is don’t drink the wine before a funeral mass. When you ring the bells, it doesn’t mean let’s dance. Just saying.. Anyway, I don’t go to church as often as I should, but I do believe my mother is kicking his ass right now about a lot of stuff.

 

So, this brings to me to something near and dear to me. You have to remember where you came from and live your life. When my mother died I swore I would live my life to its fullest. I have some things I still want to accomplish but I have done a lot of things. To have to live within your means is well,  a bit overrated. I am not saying go out and max your credit card. All  I am saying go and buy something new now and then. You never know, by the time you read the end of this blog it could be your last breath. It’s a scary thought but it’s true. Maybe that’s why I drive a Pro Mod, but that may change too. You can’t live saying ‘what if’ and ‘shoulda , coulda, woulda’ all your life, I have lived like that and it is boring. You might as well wrap yourself in bubble wrap before you leave the house. Go out and live. Do something different each day. Don’t wait for something to happen so you can say I should have did things differently. Go make your statement.

 

Now, back to reality or somewhat reality; DRAG RACING!!!! We have many choices to race, NHRA,IHRA,PDRA and other venues. I hear all the chatter about how one organization should control rules or why there isn’t a standard set of rules for all classes. Why is the speed limit different in every state, why are the taxes different in every state, why are NY property tax so high. An even playing field is great if everyone can play on the same field at the same time. But not everyone can play on that field at the same time nor can some afford to. The Pro Mod group has a “buy in” then you have to pay NHRA their fee for each race. Maybe this is the future, I don’t know. IHRA and PDRA have no buy in, just a cost to enter the race. My point to this is each series has different rules to accommodate different racers. Is one right or one wrong? I don’t know. Choose what works for ‘you’.

 

It is going to be a great year of racing in every series, from Nitro to Sportsman. I miss my racing family and can’t wait to get back on the track as a C… Cr….. Crew member. WOW, that was hard to say.

Stay warm and see everyone soon.

See Ya 2014-Dina Parise Racing

Well, 2014 is over. It has been one tough and long year for us (Dina Parise Racing) and many others. It was a year that we lost many friends, a family member and racers. It was one of those years that just seems like you are driving through thick fog. But like they say, you have to take the bad with the good. This year was one giant road trip for me, from North Carolina to New York to Pennsylvania to somewhere else. I have a new respect for long haul truckers. We can finally call a state home. The state of  Pennsylvania.

I grew up old school ; I  say thank you, I open doors for a lady, I will give up my seat. Those days are long gone in many areas but the people here in Pa still live by old school values. The first time someone said good morning to me, I was like, ‘What do you want? You talking to me?’ It took me a couple days but I realized that I am home. It was a nice change. I do miss the food in NY but we are close enough to Maryland which has good restaurants, but the boss said we have to go on a diet after Christmas. She said she wants a fit backup boy. Hmmmm… I guess that was a dig on my current look.

IHRA, announced the come back of Pro Mod for 8 races at the PRI Show. We attended the meeting in the media room at PRI and it was a packed house. The management team did a great job of bringing back Pro Mod to its grass roots with a full time sponsor, Crower. I think this is going to be a great program with a large turnout. I know everybody will be watching as well as commenting. We are sure it will be run well,but just like any other series perfection takes time. They have a series sponsor (Crower) that has been in business for over 40 years, and a management team that is going above and beyond and have booked some of the best tracks around. I shouldn’t have taken this year off, I might have to move the Bosses pedals in her car (OK, don’t tell her that). With IHRA,NHRA and PDRA it is going to be a great year of Pro Mod racing. We will be focusing on IHRA and PDRA, we don’t have the points to enter NHRA nor will we spend a year obtaining them running divisional races.

So, we have been busy working on the new shop (Andi-Con Performance), well I have been busy not sure what Dina has been doing. Andi-Con is coming together well and will open this month. It is going to be a great new adventure for us. I will be working side by side with Dina, racing together, traveling together. What the hell did I get myself into?  The shop is coming together nicely, the boss has her office, smart TV, new computer, personal heater and I have white hair. I need a dye job, my hair is white not gray anymore. It is a lot of work opening a new business. You burn thru money quickly. What seems off is our first gas bill. For heating the shop (at a toasty 50 degrees) our first bill was $1200.00. Really? I have to work in an eskimo suit with heated socks. But in the end it will work out. I am really excited about the new shop and all of the vendors coming on board.

While I won’t be driving next year, I will be driving everyone nuts on and off the track. When your a driver it is hard to watch, but this is the year of DPR. I predict that Dina will be in the winner circle this season. We aren’t going to the race track to watch. We are going to win. I want our family, Marketing Partners, friends and fans  all in the winner circle with us. In 2015 you will see a new team, new look, new attitude and we are bringing our ‘A’ game. We have a lot of new things coming about in 2015 and it is going to be awesome. ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ or as Dina says ‘Drives like a Cadillac , stings like a V!’

2015 is going to be a great year. Look for the grand opening of Andi-Con Performance shortly. You are all more then welcome to join the fun at the open house we plan on having. We are testing  the boss’s Cadillac starts shortly and so does the strict diet and gym. 2015 is going to be a great year. Be on the lookout!

See you at the Races,

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Andrew and Dina’s Excellent Adventure!

Well,  another year gone and the travel for us is almost over. We finally found a new building for the race team and Andi-Con Performance.Time to start a new adventure in our lives. I worked in Corporate America for 20 years and it has taught me a lot. I have learned how to treat (and not treat) people to what Corporate America is really about. Being in Senior Management opens your eyes to so much. One thing for sure is you will not become rich. Most importantly Corporate America does not allow you to be in charge of your own destiny.

So after months of looking for a new building we finally landed one in New Freedom,PA. The community has welcomed us with open arms.  This area is certainly a ‘motorhead’ mecca . They have car shows often, many local racers and real great people. With this new adventure Dina has decided to open Andi-Con Performance (From Street Rods to Pro Mods , as well as show cars! Bolt on Performance to Safety equipment.. Let Andi-Con be your go to Performance shop!)For my part… it was either go back to be being a Corporate chair, which was hard to do or open a business and work for ourselves. I figured I already have gray hair, why not push the envelope and make a difference.

Now, we are working our butts off to get all the pieces and parts together, finish the 7,200 sq foot shop so we can have a grand opening. In the midst of that, we will have Dina’s Cadillac at the PRI Show in Stainless Works booth (#3957). I am so excited for this show as we will be showing off her car and meeting with vendors for the shop.

We took the Cadillac out to test at VMP. The track was on kill as always.The testing went well, but we had to cut it a bit short due to issues out of our control. Never the less, we are looking forward to 2015. There are changes on the horizon.

I will not be driving in 2015 , I will be taking the year off. The 1953 Corvette has been sold to a great couple in Texas who will be racing it. It is going to be in great hands. She will be extremely missed. We are building a new car for the following season, that is what the boss tells me.  Trust me, I want to race and more importantly want to race Dina and put her on the trailer (for me that’s double duty!). The rivalry is still alive and well. So, this coming year I am taking my BAMBAM attitude and applying it to Dina driving her Cadillac. It is the year of DPR and Take No Prisoners. I love the fans, the competition and most of the racers but when it’s race time, it’s ‘Rocky’ Time. In the words of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) “Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”

Moving seems pretty easy for me, I really have noting to do as Dina coordinates everything. I just have to get the movers, cancel a couple of items, change address (oh, Dina reminded me…She did that as well) and off I go. Well, this is the never ending trip. We were orginally moving to NC, but after months of research and not being able to find what we wanted we decided on PA. I am not excited about the cold weather or snow, but you have to take the good with the bad. Anyway, our last week in NY, I had to go for a quick root canal. So I thought. The day after root canal I woke up not feeling well at all. I had to run a couple errands and got sick.(this next bit is not for the faint at heart!) Thank god I had a coffee cup in the truck. I got home and handed it to Dina. Now I think about it, it is funny. She wasn’t too delighted about it. But, the saga continued…Well I had to go the doctor and I had a nose and ear infection that put me in bed for 5 days. Now On the way home from Dr. J. Rotolo’s I got sick again and in her new car. Glad she had a bag in the car. Initially, we were scheduled to move Thursday which had to be rescheduled to the following week. The final kick to our week was coming home after my last root canal visit and Bella felt left out and decided she was going to slip a disc in her back. It has been a fun week, seems NY did not want us to go!

So, look for ANDICON coming soon and if your headed to PRI stop by and see the hottest Pro Mod Cadillac! Oh ya and the driver, she is okay too. Can you believe I have the same boss at two different companies. I was told it’s a 7 day a week  job, so much for having weekends off. 2015 is going to be one hell of a year. You won’t want to miss it.

See you out there!

Bam Bam

Truth be Told, and It Ain’t Pretty…

Well, the boss said “Hey you haven’t written anything in a while”. My answer? “ I will write you a poem.” Well, that wasn’t what she meant.

I’m not going to bore you with details of my 30K worth of miles in road trips in the last 3 months. But I can warn you not to go on a diet and sit in traffic. You will be a bit edgy, Holly mother! I have been on a cleanser for 10 days then every other day. It works, but it is the consistency of sand. It is green powder and some other unidentifiable stuff. You don’t want to be in traffic after having your ‘sand’ drink.

I know everyone (Dina Parise Racing included) is waiting for the new Cadillac (CTSV Pro Mod) to debut. But right now it is under wraps being painted (by Paint by Bruce Mullins). It is coming out amazing. Perfection takes time and everybody involved in this project wants it perfect. For years I have had the better car, making it look easy to get down the track. I was told many years ago a bad car will make a good driver look bad. Well, I know my wife can drive better then me. I don’t like to admit it, but she can pedal much better then me and beats me off the starting line every time. It pisses me off so bad, yet I love racing her. I have beaten her many times and have the Wally and the AA/PM record to prove it (Yes, I love rubbing that in). This new car is going to be just like a real Cadillac except for the couple things. Engine, Seats, Rug okay more then a couple. But outwardly, there is no mistaking, it’s a Cadillac. You will all have to wait and see it for yourselves.

Have you seen the new DPR Logo? Everyday she is coming up with something new for us to do. Driving around the world, finding a shop getting things in motion and on top of it all, the boss decides it rebranding time. Sure, we have a huge employee list to take that on (uh, not) but really, we just need to hit the lotto. But seriously, when she is right she is right. I just don’t tell her that she is.

Rob Matheis (Matheis Race Cars Inc.) built the Cadillac and is one of the best in chassis building and fabrication. He builds everything from motorcycles to cars.Did you know he fabricated a lipstick holder in Dina’s new Cadillac? Yes. Seriously, who puts a lipstick holder in a Pro Mod? Well, my wife for one, but Rob provides such attention to detail that giving the customer what they request is key (as long as safety is not compromised). That seems hard to find today. We are a team that doesn’t play games, and Rob and his team are the same way. At the end of the day it is a business.

So, it has been a tough year. We haven’t been able to secure a shop so no racing for us yet. We are close to closing a deal but ’till I have the keys in hand I wont believe it. We have a lot of things going on as always but they are big things. I promise to let you know as soon as possible as it is going to be huge.

I rarely get personal, but I can’t help myself. In life we work, live, pay bills and try to be the best we can be. We have family and friends who don’t believe in our goals or our choices in life. How many people told John Force he should quit, or How about Bunny Burkett or Don Garltis. All of these people had a dream and worked to make a difference. How about Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates. These people not only had dreams but they had passion for what they believe in. They found people to support them and believe in their passion. The ones that didn’t well let’s say they are looking from the sidelines.

I always dreamed of driving for a team, but I had no family support. Growing up I was the baby. I have two older brothers. One is 6’ 5” weighing 300 pounds and the other 6’1” weighing 200 pounds. Me, I’m only 5’6, I was out sized and weight was not on my side. But I was a smart ass and kept things exciting. Plus I couldn’t do anything wrong in my mothers eyes (oddly still not to my Mother-in-law either!). My Mom got cancer and I had to take care of her for a while when I was 18, she died when I was 20 yrs old. It was a tough time for me, but I never lost that want to drive. My point to this story is here it is 25 years later and I still have that desire to drive inside me. Regardless of the people in life telling me to quit and walk away. Don’t let anyone and I mean anyone take away your passion or dreams. My mom was my life; she would do anything for her family. Not only was she a fighter but only wanted the best for her kids. Fight for what you want.

Well, lately we have heard a lot on the future of NHRA from many influential people. Now we all Know Larry Morgan is a very laid back quiet guy. So, here is my take on some things. Okay, forget NHRA for a second. Drag Racing on a whole I feel has so much more to offer marketing partners. NASCAR is good, but we (Drag Racing) are better. You can’t get within a ½ mile of a NASCAR driver unless you are the sponsor or you have a ‘golden ticket’ so to speak. The fans are what make the show. The look on there faces, hanging out with the kids and signing autographs. I was asked once by a gentleman, how I drive by both cars. I pointed to Dina and said my wife drives that car. He said have a nice day, sir and ran over to talk to Dina. That to me is priceless. Dina cooks Italian food in our pits and sometimes we feed 30 people. The fans at times become your family. We have the Best show in the world. Now, I know a lot of people dislike the man Former President of ADRL. Kenny Knowling. But one thing for sure, he knew how to keep you entertained. He had pre parties, race day parties and fan interaction; Something lacking now.

So, I am going to get myself into some hot water here (nothing new, frankly).Don’t take this as bashing, take this as TRUTH. Everyone walks on eggshells and is afraid to say what needs to be said. NHRA is a not-for profit but their upper management team makes high Six figure incomes. The cost to race at NHRA is ridiculous for teams and ticket prices are way too high for the average family. To race at an NHRA event you have to pay for a license AND your magazine subscription and of course your entry fee. Oh if you don’t have enough points you have to spend a ton of money on divisional races (Pro Mod). The payouts are a joke, but nobody is doing this for the money, we do it because we are crazy and we love it. NHRA will never change until you change management. I worked in Corporate America for 20 years, if you didn’t produce results you were gone. If sales went down, upper management was let go. The Indians listen to the Chiefs but if the Chiefs are lost then what happens? What would happen if Don Schumacher decided he is done racing? John Force cant drive forever, he will try. What is the answer for NHRA? It starts at the top of the chain. You can only sit in your Air conditioned office for so long till they close the doors. When a Reality racing TV show comes along and has more viewers then NHRA you know things have to change. I don’t think this is what Wally Parks had in mind when he said make racing affordable to keep racing off the streets.

Okay, now I am really going to shake things up. A major CEO just announced that they are sponsoring the IHRA but they want all classes to be pro classes. From Stock to Nitro. Everybody is equal and everybody is Pro. Racers would have to pay $200.00 per event to enter a race, fans would pay $25.00 to enter the race or weekend passes for $30.00. MAVTV will be airing all events. You think NHRA would be in trouble then? The point of this is (for now) NHRA the only sand box in town for the Nitro teams. For me, I hope IHRA brings it AND brings back Pro Mod . That is where Pro mod started and this is where it belongs.

Is our sport in trouble, no not necessarily. Is NHRA in trouble Absolutely YES. When you try and control too much and lose sight of the big picture it is time to cut the fat and make changes. IHRA, PDRA and other series are doing very well and it wont be too long before NHRA puts their nose into the PDRA. At the end of the day it isn’t a perfect world, you have to roll with the punches, but you can only get up some many times before you have to retire from the ring and close the lights for good.

Somehow I will be in trouble. But Hey that why they call me BamBam. We do have the best show in the world, the best fans in the world and the best racers in the world. What NHRA does or doesn’t do really doesn’t matter in the big picture. As fans, racers, team owners we need to fight for what we believe in.

TOG on the Move

Well, the boss has been keeping me very busy. I put 24K miles on my truck in three months and it doesn’t look like she is done with me just yet.  Growing up I watched so many race car drivers move up in the ranks. I knew that I always wanted to be a race car driver but my father didn’t see it that way, not sure what way he saw it but it wasn’t racing. But anyway, I watched all these famous drivers and not only wanted to meet them, but I wanted to be one.

Fast forward a couple years because I’m not that old yet, we got to hang out with my idols. I was like a kid in the candy store. Over the past couple of years I got to meet some amazing people. Don Gartlits, Billy Lynch, Bernie Schacker ,Tony Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon, Clay Millican, Frank Manzo and many others. These are racers that believed in themselves through thick and thin. I love getting to hang with them.

Now how cool is this, we are at Etown for the SuperNationals and we are talking to Bunny Burkett. Seriously, Here is Bunny… that has done it all and she is hobnobbing with me and the boss.  I still pinch myself thinking it is all a dream. I just hope that all of us racers can be as influential to the younger generation as drivers before us were. Who is the Next Bunny, Billy L, ‘Big Daddy and so many others. Those are some big shoes to fill.

I know you all are waiting on the Cadillac CTSV Pro Mod. It is almost done and will be out shortly. Rob and his team at Matheis Race Cars has been very busy working on it. They are perfectionists and I can’t wait to drive it. Oh did I say me. You never know what will happen in DPR camp. Matheis is doing an amazing job on this car with some real ‘trick’ stuff. When you have the 8th dwarf for a driver that weighs less then a watermelon it presents some challenges. But this car is going to be awesome, so awesome, I might have to get one for myself soon. Ugh, I hope the boss doesn’t read this.

Things are moving ahead in many ways but I just can’t say too much. What I can tell you all is that driving across the country is not fun. But it is very quiet in my truck. Just kidding. We have a ton of work to do in a short period of time. Since I do the schedule,( yes I do something besides drive )Oh maybe I don’t do the schedule, Now I’m in trouble…. Anyway we have testing on two cars to do and a lot of new parts and pieces to iron out. My crew chief won’t see home for a while.

One thing that I ‘stress’ (besides  my wife LOL!)  is  race track is safety. You can never be too safe in a race car or at the track in general. When we raced a 9 sec car, we over did the safety. Was it over kill, yes but I knew Dina was safe. I help guys who race 12 sec and 8 sec cars and I always hear ,”Belts are too tight”. Well, I rather be too tight then flop around in the car like a fish. When I went to the race track with Carl Spering, the man tighten my belts so hard it dislocated my shoulder. Ya it was a little too tight but his point I will never forget. You want to go rounds you need to be here for the next round. Safety is not for anyone but ourselves. Yes, its uncomfortable, hot, you feel like you cant breathe but it is there to keep us safe. Once the car is stopped then start taking your belts off and helmet. How do you know if the guy next to you doesn’t have brakes or your parachutes don’t get tied up to the fence. You just never know. We do drills with all of our gear on to make sure we can get out of the car quickly. Try this fully suited in the car with a friend. Blind fold yourself, seat belts locked and you have to get out of the car on the passenger side. Have your friend time you. Check the time and see if fire would burn you. Safety is key. Drag racing isn’t an X-Box game. If your mind is off that day go become a fan. Live to race another day.

The boss only gave me 1 hour to write this and I am way over my time limit. We are hitting the road again so always look for some pictures of our road show.

On the Road Again……

Andrew~

What IS and isn’t going on at DPR


Well, its another year and things have been crazier then ever. Where do I start? Ok… Here goes! Good friends of ours found us a shop in York PA were we moved the shop to the week of before Christmas. We thought it was going to be a permanent or semi permanent location … Well… ’til we received an email that they sold the building and we had to be vacate. Within a month. Oh, and by the way.. the shortest month of the year of course! It was a short lived reprieve, and once again we had to scramble to find another location. Thanks to Chip King we have a place in NC.
We bought a Ford F250 (Thanks to the fine people at Huntington Chevrolet in NY) and in one week I was able to put 7,600 miles on it! I did not think this would be possible to do. I gotta tell ya, when you bring you truck in for an oil change after one week of use people look at you weird. Dina and I had to go to NC to look at the shop. Notice I said Dina first, brownie points! I went from NY to PA on Wednesday to load up the shop, a friend followed me to NC where we dropped the Truck and trailer off.Whew….THEN….. We turned around and drove back to NY and left Friday night for Missouri, so Dina could get fitted for her NEW Cadillac CTSV. Some call me the Energizer bunny because I just keep going and going. We met up with Rob Matheis (Matheis Race Cars) at his shop and had NY style pizza in Missouri. Thats what they call it, I call it flat bread with stuff on it . It actually was pretty good though. Now we the major snow storm and ice storm is moving in, so we have high tail it out of Missouri and try and beat the storm. Well, we get to Indy and oh boy was it fun. When you don’t you see cars on the road it is a sign to get off the road. Now I have the Boss and Bella in the truck, so cargo is high priced right now and mistakes and it is going to cost me dearly. The road was a bit shiny I hit the tow button on the truck and it started to slide, yup the entire highway was covered in black ice. Well, I cut a .001 light hitting that button again let the truck straighten out and coasted all the way to the exit. But what pissed me off, the salt truck in front of us not putting any salt down. I think he saw the NY plate and had other ideas for me. I was so white, you could see me from space. We stopped for the night and hit the road the next day without any problems. It is nice to be home for a short period. But like they say the show must go on.

So, now it is order more parts for the boss’s car, that money tree in the backyard is so frozen it is only dropping pennies lately. Get the shop up and running this month and get back to some consistency in our lives. Poor Bella doesn’t know if she is coming or going, I forgot what month it is and what’s her name, the boss lady is just going crazy. We should have been testing in March, but it’s ok…. This is the Real husband of DPR and it IS reality at it’s finest ! YEP!. And, we wouldn’t want it any other way. Sounds good right? Another suck up! HA! Well, we have a lot to do in a short period of time, but it always seems to come together some how some way.

One big topic that is going on is the state of our sport of Drag Racing. Whit Bazemore wrote an article about it on Competition Plus and if you read it Whit states things have to change for Drag Racing to be here for the next 5-50 years. I wont get into it all, but all my life I have always dreamed of racing cars. Yes, I am guilty of the street racing back in the day. But this is a sport that compares to no other sport. There are only a handful of people who made a living from the sport and they are all idols in my eyes. We as Drag Racers need to bring that back, be the next idol. Bring our personalities back into the sport, have fun. Look at Tony Stewart how many times has he throw a helmet at another driver.Again this starts at the top, nobody wants to see a robot in front of the TV and say I want thank blah blah blah.You sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown, ” Wah,Wah,Wahhhh”. How about, “Damn, that thing was full of fire, I was scared out of my shorts!” John Force gets TV time because he is nuts, says stuff that has nothing relative to the race at times. You put the boss in front of a mic and watch out the show girl is coming to towm. I am a shy guy, we are like Pen and Teller sometimes.I’m Penn and she is certainly Teller! I am not big on being in the spot light, but when that chance comes I don’t plan on being a flap jack,I will be a big Whopper! Look out!

Well, its time to get a move on and see what type of trouble I can get into today. The boss already gave me three things to do and I forgot all three of them. Oh ya, one was get back to work. I think she means go back to Corporate America work. I’m not biting…….

Groovin’ at the Grove and Moving on…..

As many of you know, Maple Grove is a special place for me. It was my first race track that Dina watched me race at and it was the track that brought me back to drag racing. We attended the Super Chevy Show in Maple Grove, and it was a hot, 98 degrees is just crazy. My coffee never got cold, the ice was melting and we were sweating like it was raining out. Not a pretty picture. You wouldn’t expect any fast times in this heat but the cars were doing real well, from 6.11’s on up. I qualified number 3 but we had that gremlin. We changed all the electronics in my 53 Corvette Pro Mod on the last qualifier and oh boy did it have some power. I did a long burnout (got in trouble a bit) But it felt real good. I Let go of the trans brake pedal and sideways I go. Not what I had in mind, but caught up on some reading on the side of Jim Bersani’s Turbo Chevy. Not the first time we have met.

We re-grouped, looked everything over and off to Eliminations and Once again I had to race Jim Bersani. We stage and I go RED! Red? Really? AND, the car goes to the right…. again. But more important I went RED. It has been a long time since I went RED, and I have to tell you it is not a color I like to see. It is hard to take as a driver going red, you not only let yourself down,but your team your fans and then there is the BOSS. For years I was after Dina about sleeping at the tree, now I have to hear about going red. When you let your team and fans down, it really hurts. But, you move on….

Oh Fly away

Well, I had the boss as a crew member this weekend along with Butch and Dave and a special appearance from James Montana. Now, being a driver it is hard to be a crew member. But, Dina belongs in the seat of her 63 Corvette Pro mod and not with a head set on. I think she asked me the same question like 20 times in 5 minutes. ” You okay,You need anything?” Now, we both have the same driving mentality, suit up and shut up. I think she forgot this rule, being the Dina Parise Racing, boss I guess she can do what she wants.

Moving Forward

As you know DPR is all about moving on, and drag racing is changing everyday. From more series to race in to new technology it is being changed everyday. We are making changes to our program that we have seen improvements already. We will be changing much more in the future, can’t give away everything just yet, but it is going to be awesome. I find that annoying Dina more often is key in my daily duties, but more important is looking to improve our team. For me, as some of you know me I get emotional excited at times. We have a great consultant in our camp that is behind the scenes. Jon Salemi (Resolution Racing Services) Aka Johnny Bravo. I watched Bravo in action while we had a major issue and he was calm, cool and relaxed. While I was jumping out of my skin. He has taught me some things already, but the most important is to be less emotional.

The big news in NHRA, Ford is pulling out. We are working hard to obtain marketing partners to compete in NHRA, but you have to provide a return to your partners on their investment. I have talked to many companies about marketing and we hear the same results. We need a change in drag racing, need to have personalities again, bring back the day Scotty Canon called out John Force. Look at NASCAR. the drivers show emotions. Drag racing in my mind is the best sport for marketing partners, fans come directly in our pit area and are face to face with you and your marketing partners. No disrespect to NASCAR, but NASCAR has a logo on a car traveling around a huge track. We need to change the way we use technologies, TV is great but we need more. Only the drivers can make the change. We all know we don’t race for the money, we do it because we love the sport. John Force says he cannot read or add, but he is a marketing expert. His teams are always in the papers, going out of the box and saying what is on his mind. Personality; You can dislike him or love him, but every racer wants to be him. A marketing Guru.

For us, it is hammer down and wide open. Have little time to get ready for the next event and I feel the gray hair growing. We have a lot of work to do but I know we can get back on track. Who knows maybe at the end of the day we come out of Pro Mod and Dina will join Top Fuel. Woops, I think the boss is going to write me up for this!

Catch you on the flip side!

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Back where I belong !

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Said Albert Einstein .I for one like to live life on the edge. Well,look who I married! That is challenging enough, now add Drag Racing on top of it all and it’s over the top. We all hear about that teams are on the dynos for months, testing new products and ideas behind the curtains and that is what makes this sport amazing. Let me take you back. Back to our early day when we began running  the Converter. Yes I said the “C” word.  Years ago, teams wouldn’t even consider using  a converter. But I did when we first started and still do. Carl Speiring had been running a Converter and I wanted in.It was different,new, a challenge and it was just plan crazy. After a couple of years and hitting it hard we ran a 6.00ET in my ’53 Corvette Pro Mod.  The hard work paid off.  You have to try new things, even if you make mistakes.  Trust me, we have made many …. My oh my… its hard to say that ‘M’ word when your perfect. HA HA! Mistakes, happen. I got married, Divorced ReMarried again. And as you know… this one’s trouble! First, my wife wants to race Super Comp. Wife says “I wanna go faster.”. Next wants to race Pro Mod. Wife goes 6.09  in her ’63 Corvette `and says it was slow, husband goes gray and becomes numb.Are you feeling my pain yet?

 

We had to miss the most recent race at Maple Grove Raceway but we will be ready for Super Chevy at Maple Grove July 19th- 21st. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel again, it has been way too long. Maple Grove is a special place for me. It was the first racetrack I attended when I decided to come back to drag racing and where I met my good friend Dave Tomasino. Dave and I became great friends over the years and I had the honor of crewing for him and others when the Nitro Coupes competed at Super Chevy Shows. Here’s some great Super Chevy…. history, shall we say! I was lending a hane to Bruce Boland during a Super Chevy Show a few years back. Bruce  and Mike Swinarski were teammates at the time. I was one guy helping to start two supercharged cars. I started Mike’s car and… it shut off. We got it restarted and went over to start Bruce. I now realize the fuel bottle to start the car was not full so we had very little left.  As some of you may know, I am vertically challenged.I had to lean way over to start Bruce’s car. The car launched forward threw me a couple feet and I landed on my rump. Well, Dina is laughing so hard she is crying and Bruce is laughing as well.I was looking around as to see if the Super Chevy crew got any pics of that. Well, let me just say my rump was hurting. The point of all of this is, racing has brought me a new family beginning with the Super Chevy Show and Maple Grove. Every racer has that special track and for me The Grove is it. It brought me back to racing.  Let me give you the first day of my Back to the Race track experience. I had to buy, truck, trailer, tools everything you need to go racing. We leave the hotel, and off we go. Now, My crew chief (at the time) and second father Brud Bennake was telling me the game plan. We arrive at Maple Grove, go to roll the car out of the trailer and it has a flat tire. Well, that was it for me, I was so mad. I walked around a bit, complained to Brud, when he flipped his wig and said, “Take the tire off and get it fixed!” I replied with how we going to get it there. Well, if you ever saw Brud open fire on you, you would run for the hills. His reply was “take the tire, put it on the scotter and get it fixed” But he looked as if had a sunburn with tomato paste on his face, from aggrivation. Oh, did I mention he is 6 ft 4inches over 230 pounds, he has a grip that is worse then vise grips. So, I tried not to piss him off any more than I already had.  Maple Grove has a lot of great memories for me, this is where Dina got to see her first Drag Race and realized she wants to race. Hummm.. I’m not sure if that is a ‘good’ memory. Debatable at best.

 

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” -said Mother Teresa.  We don’t focus on the past as a race team or in life in general. You have to move forward every minute of everyday. I have always lived with the statement, “If you didn’t learn one thing today you should have stayed in bed”.I spent over 20 years in Corporate America .And yes,I have to laugh when people say to me, “I cant see you in Corporate America” .For some time I was not sure how to take that.Was it an insult? I don’t really think so. For years I dedicated a lot of my time to the Corporate America, missing family functions, birthdays, holidays and not realizing I was changing as a person. After being out of Corporate America for almost 2 years now my eyees are a bit more open.For instance, we went to a local restaurant that we have been customers of for years . The manager tells me it is great to see you laugh, I never saw you really laugh. Have you ever hit yourself with a hammer by accident or stubbed your toe and feltl that pain. Well, to me this was the equivalent of dropping a cement boulder on my head. I had to ask Dina, “Was I really ‘That Guy’?” She shot me a look (you know..the Italian girl stare…) and I knew the answer.  I have no regrets about working in Corporate America. It taught me a lot.But the one thing it taught me was “Never Change” . Look, you live once. It took us years to have what we have and if you take all the toys away what are you left with? Your family and friends that will stick behind you through thick and thin.  So, everyday I work on being a better person and going back to the old person I once was. Not sure Dina will like that too much, I am sure she will put a stop to some things.

 

Well its time to kick it into high gear for DPR.. No, really ! The boss only gives me a certain amount of time to write a blog. So, I’m back to getting ready for Maple Grove. It is going to be a great event with amazing people. The second quarter for DPR is going to be amazing and I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

 

~Andrew

The First Quarter

The First Quarter

Well the Dina Parise Racing team has a tough start to the first quarter so far. I suffered my very first engine explosion ever driving my 1953 Corvette Pro Mod, which was not pretty by the way. Oh, and of course it was documented in Drag Illustrated’s May/June Issue.Photographer Van Abernethy never misses a beat.

As for Dina’s car, her 1963 Corvette Pro Mod is just not playing nice in the sand box. We call it the ‘Beast’ for a reason! And the ‘Beast’ name will remain, at least for now. We have hired some folks to do a Voodoo dance and scare the devil out of it. Hopefully, that will work.

Like they say; if it was easy everybody would be doing it. We aren’t going to throw the towel in just yet so keep a close eye on the progress.

The Men Behind the Scenes

Keeping busy as a crew member oh, and a driver, (that statement always makes my crew laugh) I don’t always get to hear what the announcers say.But, having to  play both roles,I do at least try to pay attention as often as possible. Every so often I will hear things said , regarding our team or others.At times, I am in awe of the plethora of  information I hear!  Question for everyone, when was the last time you thanked the announcer?Asked them for their autograph,or took pictures with them ? Can’t remember can you? They speak to thousands of people during an event, an entire event! I can tell you is  this,  they have a much harder job than I do. They have to be a comedian, yet they must be a  book of knowledge. They need to be exciting and all the while  speak to people who know everything about drag racing and some that no nothing about drag racing and make it entertaining and understandable for all . It’s a tall order. Yes, some announcers are over the top at times, but think about this ; would you rather hear crickets in between rounds?

My good Friend Rockin Rob Cherkas is a great example of such an announcer! The guy is a great  drag racer in his own right and the Announcer for many racing events. He is the most professional and exciting guy to listen to when he is announcing.  He begins his day in the team pits gathering  information ( like a sponge) so he can relay that information to the fans. Team by team, round by round, Rockin’ Rob keeps the fans informed and intrigued.

If you are NHRA nut, Bob Frye was the voice of NHRA. I had the honor of meeting Mr.Frye while we were racing at Numidia Dragway many years ago. As he interviewed Dina, I said ‘ ” Now, that is one job I would suck at.”  Not only does he remember names, he has to remember engine specs, what he ate for lunch yesterday, be funny to boot. Are you nuts? I am lucky if I remember my wife’s name! What’s her name? …..oh, ya….Boss.

So, the next time your at race thank your announcer! He has one the toughest jobs around.

Sitting VS. Standing

This is a topic that still blows me away and I really wish people would just deal with it.

Woman racers.

Yes, Dina has had her mishaps but they are not due to the fact that she is a female or that she can’t drive. She has had issues (mechanical in nature) beyond her control. What really drives me nuts is when I hear the statement “Women should not be in a race car”. I love this statement . Honestly, it makes me push Dina even harder (well, harder than she pushes herself!).

Trust me, I have noticed that this sport has enough men in it that should never be allowed to drive a street car, let alone a 200+ MPH bullet. When Dina went to Frank Hawley Drag Racing School for her license, I saw grown men all pumped up with their chest out being cocky. Well, after the first burn out they were practically sucking their thumbs and asking for a glass of milk because they were so scared. I did ask this one guy, what happened when he did not complete part of the course. His answer; ” This is not for me, way too much.” At least he was honest, but I wasn’t going to let him off too easy. I said, “well you gave the girls in the class a hard time” (because he did), “I don’t see your chest pumping now, it isn’t so easy is it?” He put his head down and just walked away.

My point is, regardless, if it is my wife or another female we as men need to show respect to them just like you would to any male driver.  If you are a guy, and race and lose to a female, it doesn’t mean you are any less of a man, it just means you lost the race.  If you think it is easy (if you have not raced), spend the money at Frank’s School and try it. You may be surprised. The next time you think a female should not be in racing, go tell Shirley Muldowney or Bunny Burkett what you think. Be sure to keep your mouthguard in, you may need it.

The brains that make us look good.

For a small team we get a lot accomplished and a lot goes unnoticed but not forgotten. This year  DPR has the pleasure of working with Jon Salemi ( AKA Salmi) of Resolution Racing Services.  I was told he was a good guy, knows his stuff blah blah… I’m from NY,  proof is in the numbers. Well,  he has proven me to eat my words. He knows his stuff. From a 6.15 to 6.05 in two runs, that is impressive but what really was impressive is he told me what it was going to run. Now If the guy who was to check the rods only did his part we would of went on the next round,. HHHMMM, now what is that guys name ? Oh, ya ! That was me. Yes, I am admitting I made a mistake, it doesn’t happen often because I am perfect but it happens. All seriousness, Jon is a great tuner and has brought a lot of new information to our team. Now, if he can only give us the winning Lotto numbers……….

My brotha from anotha motha, Butch Bruzele.  Butch is the man who no matter what happens, smiles and says we will get it next time. He is always Johnny on the spot and just keeps going. A Quick story : We needed tires for the race car while at Virginia Motorsports Park. We found them three hours away but had to pick them up. Butch and I drove. When we arrived the guy says where you putting the tires? We said in here!We were driving a  Mustang! We had to push the front seats as close to the dash as possible. We got lots of stares the whole way back to the track!   Without him in the pit area, I would have jumped off the trailer many times.He for sure….Keeps me grounded!

Jody Lupton (Aka Pepsi) is our ‘Southern Fried goodness’ boy. This guy will drive to any race track at any time of the day.  For one event we drove 5 hours one way  to pickup batteries! Pepsi drives a Box with air suspension that is 3 inches off the ground!I think I left my butt back at the race track 4.55 mins into the drive. Pepsi is a book of knowledge as well. He remembers every run, every detail.He is his own computer, for sure!

These guys are our part of our family now, even if they don’t like it or want to admit it. They get to endure the same pain, fun and excitement the  Boss gives me including gray hair.  I can say we have a lot of fun in our little DPR family and without them and the others that I will mention next time I would not be able to be so perfect. Come on I had a .000 light at MIR ! But seriously, these faces you see behind the cars, staring at the computer screen for hours, full of oil and covered in rubber are a huge part of our family. Even though the first quarter wasn’t a great one, the second quarter is looking a lot brighter already. So, keep an eye out for the crazy Italian family and some southern boys as well. Huu.. I think I have a new reality TV show, Italy meets the South. Meatball vs  Grits. Ravioli vs Biscuits and gravy.

It’s Go Time….

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Burning the candle at both ends is nothing new for me, it has been very busy. I could use more hours in the day, or better yet get my crew to New York. The little things on these cars take longer to do, then rebuilding the engines. But as they say the work must get done one way or another.

Being married is a full time job, then you add in racing, a second boss, and if you know Dina she is very persistent at times, so you add all this in with a 18 hour day the pressure gets very high. Dina takes medication for her migraines we call it Stupid Max, she will say “The thing made a noise…. you know… the thing”. It is like playing charades. Well, the Doctor just increased the dosage, which means we are going to be playing a new improved game! It is going to be a lot of fun.

It has been a long winter, lots of snow and a bit too cold for me. The boss made the decision to attend the testing at South Georgia Motorsports. Well, let me explain the fun prior to leaving for this event. Dina doesn’t get sick often, but a couple days prior of loading all the goods into the motorhome she comes down with the flu. How convenient. So, between working all day I have to run around and get the food, drinks, stickers, load the motorhome with clothes and all the goods. Oh ya, load both Pro Mods and everything needed for racing. All I can say is WOW. I got it all completed and off we went, stopped off on the side of the road in Virginia to pick up crew member Butch Brazelle.

For the most part the trip going down was nice and quiet. Dina was nice shade of Green for most of the trip, serves her right for making me do all the work. As most of people know, I have to wash the transporter before entering the track (It can not be seen with dirt on it), so we traveled an hour out of the way to get it washed when I heard a pop. Flat tire on the trailer.  Not happy, but hey we have the tools. We pull off in the grass only to realize we cannot jack up the trailer. Well, after driving 20 hours of driving,the last thing you want is a flat with no way to change it.The police show up. The officer was as helpful as he could be. I think he really was entertained by us! With having no leverage on the grass, I came up with an idea.Use the wood that closes the steps when traveling! Let’s just say the Boss was not overly excited with that idea. We change the tire like a nascar pit crew, say thank you to the Police Officer and off we go to get it washed and the chrome polished.

We were scheduled to test for four days. Besides being cold, I felt like I worked in Jiffy Lube. We had an issue with Dina’s 63 Corvette and we were covered in oil for four days. We only made one hit each, loaded up and went back to NY. It was a very depressing ride home, when all of a sudden we heard POP… Yes another flat on the side of 85 in VA, this time we couldn’t get the jack high enough to get the tire off. But Butch and myself pulled it off in the dark and off we went.

Living in NY, tolls are expensive and our Easy Pass stopped working. So to Cash lanes we go. The first bridge, George Washington Bridge the female cop looked at me with that face and said $50.00. The second bridge we pulled up to was the Throgs Neck bridge, the cop looks at the rig, shakes his head and says “$110 bucks, I can’t believe I just said that” Well that was the funniest thing we heard. He just couldn’t believe he said $110 bucks.

We attended the EOPM race at Virginia Motorsports April 5th. It was great to be back and see our extended family. We get all setup and ready to test on friday both cars,So we thought. Dina’s car, ‘the Beast’ had a fuel leak. Luckily we found it, bad news we didn’t have a spare part. Oh wait we may not have had a spare part, but we had a spare ‘Parts Car’! MY CAR.. my rockin 53 Corvette! So, we take that part off and go make a test pass. We didn’t light the world on fire but the car finally went straight thanks to Pro Chassis designs, Nick Montana and his staff. Sixty foot’s were 996 then down to a 966, with a 2.66 to the 3.30. As for me, I missed the tune up a bit but as I have been told that’s Drag Racing.

So, now its back to getting ready for the next adventure and put new tires on the trailer. Had enough of changing flats on the side of the roads. We worked hard in South Georgia and realized that the LAT Racing oil makes a great moisturizer for your skin, but I rather keep it in the car. All I can say is ” Thank you CRC”. With With the first adventure out of the way, it is time to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments.

We want to thank our marketing partners for what they provide and how loyal they are to the DPR team. NGK, Lat Oil, We want to welcome, our newest partner CRC Industries. They have many products, from Brake Kleen to Black streak remover, yes one of my favorites.

It is going to be an exciting year for DPR, the team is making changes and coming on strong.