If racing were easy, everyone would do it

Well here it is, September already. Seems like just yesterday we were in summer. Let me start with the Pity Party….

It has been yet another year of  Dina Parise Racing fighting with Stella the Cadillac Pro Mod. Some people would look at us and say, “ok it’s enough, already, throw in the towel and sell it all”. Trust me, we have thought about this. The pain of quitting will last forever. We owe the companies and fans that support us more than that. I want to thank our marketing partners for staying with us, and our fans for all the love they show us. Without the support and love we couldn’t continue. So, enough of the Pity Party…..

We swapped everything out the beginning of the year and were bitten with electrical issues. We chased them like a cat chasing his tail. So, we changed everything once again. Stella was doing a bit better till we lost the fuel timers. It’s been a real fight. We had taken my engine package from the 53 Corvette and put it in Stella. Well, Stella just seems pissed off because she won’t cooperate and trust me it’s not like we aren’t trying. Between buying new parts and lack of funding we might be moving into a cardboard box soon! But like they say, if it was easy everyone would be doing it!

When we had two cars we ran very well. Now running one car is a struggle. Hero to zero as they say! Sadly, it seems some like to see us down in the ditches. What I focus on is how many people really want us to be back on top. That is what keeps us going. I think it’s time for me to go to church; maybe take a shower in some holly water. That’s the ‘Altar boy’ in me talking (yes, I was an altar boy).

As many of you may know, in November we lost our Bella girl at 15 years old. It was so hard and painful to see her go. Truth be told, she had a better life then me. I want to come back as her. I still can’t believe that 15 years passed so quickly. To get another dog was so hard because our hearts were still hurting. In April, Dina found Pickles, and we drove to Tennessee to see her. Well, Pickles was a cute little thing and we took her. We had the Vet check her and give her shots as needed. She brought joy and fun back into our lives. It was as if Bella sent her to us. She had such an amazing personality and was a great companion. The “Triple P” (Pickles Petunia Parise), was doing tricks, sleeping on my pillow as soon as I got out of bed, just funny things. We brought her in for a ‘basic procedure’ but she never woke up in recovery. We found out she was a very sick little girl. Her organs were compromised and it went undetected. Some people will say it’s ‘only a dog’ or ‘she had issues before you got her’, move on. For us She was Pickles Petunia Parise. She was part of this family. So, the guilt we feel for not finding this sooner eats at us. I wish we could have done more for her. 7-month-old PPP will be missed dearly. Thank you to everyone for all the comments. She seemed to make an impression on so many! Dina has created The Pickles Project. It is going to be a new web site for Pet owners, with tons of information. Everything you can think of. So, keep an eye out for ThePicklesProject.com! You know Dina when she is on a mission you best watch out! You can already find the Pickles Project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As I said before, if this racing thing were easy, everyone would be doing it. Not many really know just how we roll, so here goes….. Let’s talk crew. At the shop, it’s me and myself. Yes, both of us work on the car, load the car, entire trailer and take care of everything. We have got it down to a science. We get all the parts ready, wash the rig and even put the food in the motorhome. Not every trip is ‘load and go’. Take our trip to Huntsville Dragway for example. As we go to leave for the Huntsville Match race, I begin to pull out of the shop and BAM; a flat tire on the trailer. Well, that would have been an ugly one so I am glad it happened in the shop. We change the tire (our friend Russell was with us to help crew) and must go find a spare. That took 3 hours because it seems everything in Georgia that is considered ‘just down the road’ is in actuality, an hour away. As we go to leave for the second time, the EGR decides to say, “sorry I am not going to work.” Oh, did I mention? It’s brand new. So, Russell and I pull it apart and fix it while Dina does a Live Video and annoys us. Finally, we get on the road. In the end, Dina did win 2 out of 3 races, and the crowd was amazing. So, a negative became a positive!

 

Unfortunately, now our Motorhome has been in and out of the Freightliner shop for weeks. Once again, we are told it is all fixed. While driving down Route 24, (in the Tennessee mountains) we encounter a huge downhill slope (not uncommon). When suddenly, the engine light comes on and panic sets in. It only gets worse when the big light comes on saying ‘Shutting Down’ as we see the sign coming up that says Sharpe curve 45mph. I am holding the override button till my finger turns blue, but the truck says, “sorry that won’t help you.” Luckily, we made it to the bottom of the hill. I thought Dina was going to need to be resuscitated though. My guess is it was Stella (the Grandmother, not the car) was playing games with the truck. On the way back home from the race I noticed the brakes were not working properly on the trailer. Which is odd, considering, I maintain them properly. This trip just gets better and better. So, we pull into Pilot and we had no brake fluid in the reservoir. No big deal, right? Fill it up, right? Well, we come to find out that we broke a brake line on the trailer. As I said, I’m crazy with maintenance, so I have spares. Although, I don’t know why I would even have this? But, easy fix. Being it was 98 degrees outside, and I couldn’t get the line off easily, made for a miserable hour and half. Finally got back on the road.

 

Next, we head out to the NMCA race at Route 66 Raceway. Again, we are told the truck has been ‘fixed’. We also had the generator in the truck serviced (professionally). All maintenance done (again) and we are off and running (so we think).Suddenly, the truck is smoking like a chimney (from the exhaust), so much so that it appears to be on fire! Yes, you read that correctly. Other motorists are beeping at us, while pointing and waiving. Just embarrassing. We get about 5 miles out from the track and BAM, the truck begins to go into shutdown mode. Did I mention, it’s pouring down rain so hard, that we couldn’t even see 5 feet in front of us. Again, I hit the override button (until my finger turns blue) for the next five miles, and thankfully, we arrive safely. We do owe a big thank you to Gino Cavallo of Chicago Intermodal Trucking for swinging by to assist us as well as he could.

 

Now it’s time to relax a bit and turn the (just fresh from service) generator on to cool off. It ran for 10 minutes and BAM, it shuts off. Really? Is this a test in life? Well, let’s just say, MacGyver has nothing on me. I hooked up a battery charger to the fuel pump in the generator and it ran for 3 days with no issues. Stella on the other hand fought back a bit, but we kept moving forward. We qualified #13 out of 28 cars. Not too bad even after struggling, although, we went out first round. But, we made progress.

 

After a weekend of racing, we begin the journey home. We were a few hours into the trip and as I started to pull off the road for fuel, BOOM! A rear tire blew out in the truck. Not only did the tire blow, but the tire takes out the radiator on the generator as well. The hits keep coming! Unfortunately, more added, unexpected expenses. 3 hours waiting for a new tire, (in 100-degree heat) did I mention that the air conditioning in the truck does not work at idle? Ya, there’s that (but the truck is fixed, right?). Finally, back on the road again. An hour from the shop the truck decides to say, ‘you can’t go home just yet’, and goes into shutdown mode yet again. We FINALLY arrived at the shop and unloaded at 430am. We went home to have some pizza and refreshments at 5:30am. Was this dinner or breakfast? We were not sure. We took the truck back to the dealer, again the next day. Oh, well actually, that day!

 

It was not long after that, we lost Pickles. It just seemed as if things were going from bad to worse. So much happening at once, and not too much of it in the positive column.

 

For me, the nickname T.O.G. (the other guy) is well earned! As you can see, this life may not seem so glamorous  at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe it would be a bit better with a couple million in the bank and me driving again, but it’s amazing just the same. That couple million sure would help though. About me driving again, well, that’s on hold. As a team, we have decided to focus on getting Stella back to winning again, work on ROI for our current marketing partners, as well as acquiring new partners. Trust me, I want to race more than anything, but this is a team decision. I don’t know who has it harder me watching or Dina having to deal with me driving from behind the car (and in her ear). Probably, Dina. That is why I think my crew radio is now on a different channel, so she can’t hear me anymore. But for now, I am just happy to be part of the team and drive Dina CRAZY. It’s what I live for!

 

My craziness is what keeps me going. It’s what keeps us going! We have had hardships in our life as of late, but I put it in perspective. So many are suffering due to Mother Nature’s wrath. We have a roof over our head. Although, I am hunting for outside employment, we are making it work.

 

T.O.G. Out!    

Choosing Politics over Promotion, makes Racing a Drag

You cannot escape it. Talk of politics is all around us at what seems to be every moment of the day. I personally am not a fan of talking politics, but in this instance, I will make an exception.

Drag racing is a tough sport in many ways. Of course, I say this from experience. Our sport is not only difficult from a performance aspect, but from a financial aspect as well. As a team owner (and driver) I can attest to the difficulty of fielding ‘Stella’ our Cadillac Pro Mod for one race let alone an entire season. The unfortunate truth is that we (the independent teams) have more of an uphill battle when it comes to funding and sponsorship. That is not a complaint by any means, but it is the truth. We as teams (and drivers) do not need anyone, let alone a sanctioning body, hindering the use of a sponsor logo, especially when it relates to the very sport we all work so hard to participate in and promote. This week, Larry Dixon returned to the seat at the Gator Nationals in his own car (as opposed to driving for a funded team). He stated he is running Gainesville and hoping to possibly run another event. Something we at Dina Parise Racing can understand and relate to.

NHRA in its infinite wisdom placed a ‘cease and desist’ (of sorts) on Dixon running a sponsor’s logo due to ‘conflict of interest’ (*See below). They reference the rule that states: right to refuse to display any sponsor decal on a racecar or rig it deems as detrimental to the organization. Detrimental? In this instance, I would say in this case, NHRA may have a flair for drama and at the same time, has given IHRA and the World Series of Drag Racing more publicity than they could have ever asked for.

Dixon’s NHRA Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series Gator Nationals event sponsorship is on behalf of The World Series of Drag Racing, an event hosted by Cordova International Raceway. Did I mention Cordova is owned by IHRA, another sanctioning body you may have heard of? I, like anyone else, understands the competitive nature (and egos) between the two sanctioning bodies. The sponsorship was to promote a ‘match race’ during this World Series of Drag Racing event. The event itself is not in conflict with the NHRA schedule, nor was the IHRA logo included on the sponsor decal. Did they ‘ride the line’ with this one? Maybe. But the bottom line was that it was a specific event being promoted, and that was the means for this multi-time champion to get back in the NHRA show. This move puts a bad taste in the racers and race fans mouths.

While understanding, we are dealing with two different sanctioning bodies, we must also understand another important issue here. There is a lack of ‘full fields’ not just in the nitro ranks of NHRA, but throughout the sport. Gone are the days of 30 plus cars fighting for sixteen spots. This may be a bit of a grey area here, but in the end, we need to promote our sport and its drivers.

Let’s talk scheduling. I do know a bit about this, due to my former profession as a professional skater for the Ice Capades. We too had competitors, therefore, our shows were booked in at venues accordingly. Did they want to make their competitor happy? No, but they did want to make the fans happy, and they are the ones purchasing the tickets (and merchandise). As in my former show world and in racing, I believe the answer is simple. Sanctioning bodies, as well as large racing organizations, need to work together for the betterment of the sport. Not looking for a Kumbaya moment here, just a resolution. Each year, there needs to be a formal conference to address the complexities of our sport. First and foremost, they need to address scheduling. To (at least attempt) not schedule major events on top of one another benefits everyone. This is not foolproof, but addressing scheduling will make a difference. Racers can possibly run more events, and fans have more options of events to attend. Addressing rule and class structures so teams can have the option to run more events. This especially applies in Pro Mod. The rules and structure of the class varies to where many teams cannot compete or even hope to be competitive. It is the racers as well as the fans that deserve that respect. Without the racer, (and the race fan) what do you have?

Organizations need to take stock in the teams. They need to learn how to better promote the teams and events as well as themselves, and worry less about the politics. When promoting teams, it is imperative to promote all that participate, not just the heavy hitters. Keep fans excited and connected. In turn, ROI (return on investment) will be created for the sponsors, and racers will have the means to continue racing. Need to know a thing or two about promotion? Contact me (http://dinapariseracing.com/contact/ ) and let me show you the way. Yes, that is an example of shameless self-promotion. See how I did that?

Now, more than ever, sponsors are hard to come by. No sponsors, no racers; therefore, no fans and no show. Although the organizations themselves are separate entities, the goal is still the same. Working together will benefit everyone. It is the most efficient way to have the fields and stands full.

Want to learn more about DPR? The Website will show you the way! For all things DPR please visit: http://dinapariseracing.com/   Be sure to follow along on Social Media to keep up with it all !

See you at the races and beyond!

Dina Parise

* Competition Plus- http://competitionplus.com/drag-racing/news/politics-puts-the-kibosh-on-dixon%E2%80%99s-gators-sponsor

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

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.

Drag Racing vs. Street Racing Get it Right!

 

If you view the news, you will notice that the term ‘Drag Racing’ gets thrown around frequently and for the wrong reasons. The use of the media’s incorrect  terminology has a tendency to reflect negatively on the sport of Drag Racing as a whole. For those who have never experienced the amazing , family friendly sport of Drag Racing (where have you been?)… here is a quick lesson!

Drag Racing (in short) is a competition in which ‘prepared’ vehicles compete in a ‘controlled’ environment (a Drag Strip). There are governing rules for participants and that includes safety.

Street Racing is just that. Street Racing. It is in no way shape or form , Drag Racing and, yes it is illegal and it’s just plain stupid.

Now I ask you, if they were going around a curve, why do they not call it NASCAR racing? Just a thought.

For the many who participate in the sport of Drag Racing whether it be on a professional lever or as a hobby, it is the Drag Racing community that is fighting the battle to uphold a reputation being tarnished by those who seem to have no knowledge of what the sport actually consists of. The media in it’s haste seems to latch onto the term Drag Racing as if it is a common denominator. The common  denominator is education , or lack of it.

As a Drag Racer I feel the need to want to educate the media (as well as the general public)  on the difference between Drag Racing and Street Racing. I have made 100’s calls to local newspapers and TV stations requesting the correction. Their answer? We will make a note of it. Really a note? And the beat goes on.

I have had conversations with Top Fuel Driver Doug Herbert about this very subject. He and I have the same complaint when it comes to getting the media to understand the distinction between Drag Racing and Street Racing.  Doug’s amazing B.R.A.K.E.S. Program (  http://www.putonthebrakes.com/ ) is one that should be in every community (in my opinion).

I reiterate, education on ALL sides is key! For many reasons. Of course to start; We need to differentiate between Street Racing and Drag Racing for the (what we as Racers know to be) obvious reasons. Let me entertain you!

Again:

Street Racing: ILLEGAL. Done on our public Roads. Very Dangerous. Very Stupid. *That sums it up*

Drag Racing: LEGAL. Performed in a controlled environment. With governing rules, regulations and safety features. A family sport! Entertaining and a great day out for all. Every ticket is a ‘pit pass’! No gender requirements. No age limits.

As a Team owner and Driver I admit, I do find it a responsibility to our fans and even to the public to make everyone understand the importance of safe driving. But the negative connotation of Drag Racing to Street Racing has created an ‘Oxymoron’ of sorts. Here’s why.

Due to the now created misconception, many think that Drag Racers are cowboys on the road. Quite the contrary. I know, we as Drag Racers are safer drivers because we are more aware, more cognizant of what can happen. It’s our job. So, let us put it to good use, rather than sensationalizing our sport because it’s there for the taking.

This DPR team works hard. We work hard at racing and we work hard when we are not. Just as many other teams do. So love it, or not…. I am standing up for all of us Drag Racers and saying…..

Street Racing is NOT Drag Racing…Get it Straight…

Thank you!

See you at the Drag Strip!

~Dina

 

 

It’s not a Dream, It’s Reality……

You know when you have that dream where you are falling and falling…. and you wake up in a sweat with your heart pounding? Sometimes being a team owner and driver…. makes me feel like that for real! HA! I say that tongue and cheek, but you get the gist.

You always hear (or read) me talking about our amazing Marketing Partners. Of course, the truth is, we owe what we do to them! And we are thankful for everything they do for us, and we are always sure to create the visibility for them, in our own DPR way.

For me, coming from a competitive background, I strive for more and more every day. I want to reach the top. It’s a hunger that keep me fighting, no matter what. As I said, we appreciate all our Marketing Partners but of course we hope to acquire more along the way.

It’s funny, I get many who ask me about PR and who is your PR person? Really? PR person? Do I look like Danica Patrick to you? Do you think we have a gazillion dollars? HA! No.For PR sometimes the best ‘person’ is not a ‘person’ at all! In our case, it may be our Pug, Bella! But really, I am not afraid at this point to say it’s me….all me. There is no extra money in the budget for a PR person, so what you see is what you get. We did at one time however try to use a ‘Marketing Person’. Frankly, all he did was waste our time and money. Never again. I am not naïve. I understand that nothing is guaranteed, but this person took advantage. People like that should be held accountable for their actions, but I have no time for retribution. I’m too busy to go backwards. Honestly, I know if the right person will just pay attention to my ideas…… it will be a home run. It’s a work in progress, and I am willing to DO the work myself. OH,ya… and I don’t have a choice anyway! LOL!

If you follow https://www.facebook.com/DPariseRacing or https://twitter.com/DPariseRacing at all, you will find many photos of Andrew and myself turning wrenches on our Pro Mod Corvettes. We are resourceful because we need to be, but the fact remains  that will never change. I grew up that way. I am the owner, Driver, PR girl and the cook. And I love every minute of  it! As of right now, I still hold a real job too. I am a hairdresser and have been for many years. My ultimate goal is racing full time. In my racing endeavors, my goals are; Empowering women to follow their dreams……. And a Championship…. I will achieve my goals.

DPR has certainly made mistakes in the past. But, if you don’t make them , you don’t learn from them. Pick up, move on. ‘Suck it up Buttercup’, is my favorite saying.  It’s what I said to myself when I crashed (racing Andrew) , and Andrew was in and going rounds. It’s  a two car team. We had things to do. So, I made lunch, and got on with the day!

My days I must admit tend to be quite long. They begin with doing things around the house. I try to squeeze in a workout , and then the real work begins. If I am not headed to my job, I am working form home taking care of whatever I need to for the team. It is a never-ending process. there are highs and lows. Some days I feel discouraged, but DPR has amazing fans and they really keep me fired up!

We will be firing up this DPR  ’63 Corvette again soon! Next stop will be Virginia MotorSports Park for the Super Chevy Show and Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod May 17th – 19th . If you are there, and I hope you are, remember the DPR pit area is always open! Come by! Say hello! Get a signed Hero card from me (or Andrew and Bella of course).

Remember the best part about Drag Racing? Every ticket is a pit pass!

See you at the races!

~Dina

 

 

 

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.

DPR’s PR Pug!Furry Friend’s Rock!

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Woof at ya, my good peeps! It has been far too long since I have blogged! Mommy has been hogging the computer! Work, work, work…. Whew! Doesn’t she know I have better things to do, like play fetch? I mean really!

So here I am… waiting. While I wait for racing season to start, Mom and Dad took me to see Dr. Coren at West Hills Animal Hospital here on Long Island. Mom seems to think there is somethin’ not right with me. I don’t know what she’s talkin’ about! I’m as healthy as ever. I know I don’t do too much running around, but hey… I never did !

So me , Mom and Dad went to Dr.Coren’s office. I got to see Stacie! I like her, she is so nice to me! They put me on this cold table! Someone needs to tell them… Just because us dogs have fur, does not mean we do not feel that cold on our butts! BRRRRRRR, really!

Now, look any dog I love you to pet me! It’s my favorite thing besides getting to go to sleep and pushing Dad off the bed. But this was not petting.. This was kinda like a poking , pressing thing. I really didn’t like it so much. Maybe some of my furry pals think this is cool, but not me! Dr. Coren owes me a BIG steak dinner, just sayin’! Now, give me a bone and my bed any day!

Good thing is, I heard Mom and Dr.Coren talking on the phone and I am all good! But, really I could have told them that! I’m not sure what all the fuss was about, but no worries here! I will be at the track to welcome all our DPRfans like always!

Speaking of the track…. Have you all missed me? Well I have missed you! I mean Mom and Dad are great and all, but I miss my racing peeps! I can’t wait to get back out there in my Jr. Dragster Stroller and greet you all in the pits! I also love getting to be next to Mom and Dad’s Pro Mod Corvettes too! I’m not your average Pug, you know!

So be sure to stay tuned for lots of great info about the DPR season and of course what I am up to! Did you know I’m on twitter? Yep! @ProModBella  is where you can find me! I have lots to say and I post lots of pictures too!

I have a great life here with my Mom and Dad! Do you have a dog? Do you want one? If you do, you should rescue one! Go to one of those shelters, and pick a cute furry friend like me! It could be a cat too, but I think they are kinda funny lookin’ ! I feel bad for my furry friends like that because they are not as lucky as me!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I will woof at ya all soon!

Woof!

Bella Booda

DPR PR PUG

It’s a T-O-G Party at Dina Parise Racing!

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Changes in 2013- Kenny is back in charge of the ADRL, X-Drl is created, Mello Yellow is the new Sponsor of NHRA, Dale Earnhardt produces Dale Jr Potato Chips and the biggest news of all, Dina Parise Racing  is opened with the one and only Dina Parise and ‘ TOG’  (The Other Guy) becomes official! We are still a two car (Pro Modified ) team, but here is a perfect story for all of you. Picture it: Englishtown 2012; I walk into the restroom and a fan spots me or at least  I THOUGHT he was happy to see me. He says, ” is Dina here”, I said  “yes, she is but were not racing today.”  He says,  “great I want to see her, I’m a big fan, love her ’63 Pro Mod!”.  I said,  ” Oh, I drive the other car, the ’53 Pro Mod”. He says,  “what other car?’ True story……

Its another New Year but this year is different from any other year.We began as Parise Racing with me as owner calling the shots. Some might say different but it was true to a certain point.

Now racing under Dina Parise Racing , 2013 is a new beginning for the team and a lot of new changes are happening already. Dina Parise is one of the few females to be a team owner and driver, she has a lot of pressure now, I like to share the pain. Now she can officially call the shots, I guess when she says 1/8th mile only I really can only go 1/8th mile. For some who don’t know this story, we raced at Lebanon Valley in NHRA Division 1 Comp Eliminator. I said lets only go to 1/8th and shut it down. Dina’s went down the track before me and went to the 1/8th and did her thing. I on the other hand ran it out the back door and went a 6.03 to get the AA/PM record. Well, you could hear the fireworks going off from Dina, she was telling (our crew ) James Montana, ” he said only 1/8th mile!” When I got back to the pit I said it felt good, so I ran it out. I guess those days are over.   With Dina taking over the ship I can focus more on other things, watching cartoons, going to the beach and just relaxing. These would be all great thing to do, but do you know my wife? I have to watch cartoons at 4am with the the dog, because we get kicked out of bed at 5am.  It is  a busy day in the DPR house no sleeping or relaxing with the new boss!

Now on to the fun part, once the team found out that Dina  was the team owner, it was all over for me. As some know, I have many names some not that I can write but one is TOG (The Other Guy). One of our crew members Butch Brazille… sent me a message,”Welcome to the crew TOG”.  It is going to be a fun year for the crew.

I don’t write a lot of blogs as Dina calls us Penn& Teller, guess who is who. But I made a promise to write more often just so I can stop listening to the boss yapping. I had black velvet hair before I met Dina, now I hear from people that they  like the Salt and pepper look I’m sporting. Notice the Salt first. Being a wife and husband race team brings a lot of fun, excitement and everything else. Just ask our crew chief Dave Jordan.  We are a reality TV show every minute of the day, we don’t need a script or a monitor. What you see is what you get. So, where was I,  oh ya the writing thing.  So, I promised myself to write now that I have free time between  4am-5am.

Hurricane Sandy  has changed a lot of peoples lives,  and our life changed as well. My in-laws are living with us, that is all I have to say about that, LOL. But seriously, many people have lost everything. We attended a Holiday Party for the Students of Island Park at a school, for the kids and families. When we talked to some of the families and heard the stories of how they lost everything, homes washed away, some living in  different states and towns, it makes you realize just how important life is. Not the material things, but life.

As a New Yorker, and you have to say it correctly Nu Yawka,  we are taught that you have to push forward regardless of the weight on your shoulders or the ball and chain on your ankle. We don’t look in the rear view mirror and wonder why, we flip it up and look at the future. This is what our team is all about, for every closed door there is another opportunity to waiting to be discovered.

Hold on to your shorts as this ride is going to get wild. We look forward to the future and getting back to what we do best. Time to start Flingin’ Meatballs ………

See you at the Track

Andrew

AKA Bam Bam

AKA TOG

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my 1st DPR Blog!

Head shots 004Welcome to my first Blog for Dina Parise Racing-DPR ! I have so much to say ( if you know me, you know that’s normal!). Usually, my Blogs have a specific subject… but today, not so much! So, here goes!
Between taking the 2012 season off, Super Storm Sandy and whatever else has gone on here at Dina Parise Racing, all I can say is ‘Go ahead, bring it on… You ain’t  got nothin’ we can’t handle!”
As we creep into 2013, I am confident in the fact that this will be a banner year! I’m a Meatball flingin’ Italian from New York… are you gonna say no to me? HHHHMM…. I didn’t think so!
Our team is in a new phase as you can see! For those of you that are new to DPR WELCOME and enjoy the ride!
It’s time for me to get my ‘track legs ’back . AAAHHHH,  3,000HP never sounded soooo good to me!
Now, I’m not sure if you all realize; taking time off equals more time for trash talking in the Parise house! I have work to do, vendetta’s to settle and Parise butt to kick. My car is faster than his and he knows it…. I will do my talking on the track. It’s not a Chick VS. Guy thing either…. It’s Driver VS. Driver…. OK and I just HAPPEN to be the wife! Guess that just amps up the interest factor, huh?
Interest is good. We never want to be boring! We always like to be fun and interesting in our NY, Italian, Meatball flingin’ kinda way!
So, welcome! Sit back….and enjoy the ride!
~Dina