Chew on This……….

So it has been a while since I have blogged. I have not smelled much burning rubber lately and I am missing my fans right now! Being famous really is a tough gig.

I have been kickin’ back at the Parise Casa. I have plenty of bones to chew and Mom and Dad read me my ‘fan mail’ often. HHMMM… Sometimes I think I get more ‘fan mail than they do, but don’t tell them that!

This past weekend, I got to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a sleepover! I had a great time. But Grandma makes me sleep with a Jeff Gordon blanket. I love her and all, but doesn’t she know Mommy and Daddy don’t make left turns? I’ve tried to tell her, but she does not understand Pugeese.

So, I went to Grandma’s because Mommy and Daddy were at  zMax Dragway  for the NHRA,  4 Wide Nationals! I am a bit upset about that because I didn’t get to go and see my peeps! They seem to think it’s all about them…..Sheesh!
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It’s all about Motivation

Andrew ‘Bam-Bam’ Parise

Having a two car Pro Mod team has its positive and negatives. For starters, one car is always the guinea pig (usually, my car) and the other is car is to be ‘just’ the race car.  For the most part we test new products this way, but if you have been following our team you have seen that it has not worked out well for Dina’s car in most situations.  We know that two cars are not the same, don’t like the same tune up, what we came to the conclusion is Dina’s car is just a ‘Beast’ , hence the nickname.

The ‘Beast’ has been one of the hardest cars to figure out, but with determination and hard work we are getting close to working it out.  Being a driver I can only say, thank god it isn’t me in her car! Everybody says you are a good driver; you (I) make it look easy. The reason for that, is I have a car that will go down a mud road in a flood, so my driving skills look amazing. As for Dina, she has her hands full. You hear people say things like, she can’t drive, and she is green.  When you are put to test because your race car doesn’t like to go straight you are along for the ride.  I wouldn’t be able to handle a car like this nor would I want to. Trust me by this time I would have driven it off a cliff. But the determination that Dina has makes a lot of people work harder at fixing that ‘Beast’. So, the next time you have a comment to make, come on over and give it your best shot to take a ride in the ‘Beast’, it surely will change your mind.

Maintenance on two cars just means one thing, double duty. Between rounds we have to be very organized and know who is doing what task. It is very easy to get lost or forget something that will cost you the race. We not only check things twice, we triple check things. But every so often you will make a mistake as we all are human. You have to love the sport to be as crazy as we are. We always get the question, how do you maintain two cars? It is not easy, but at the same time it’s not hard. The hard part is keeping the funding coming in to maintain them. Here is where the fun is, I am very OCD with the cleanliness of the cars, truck and trailer.  I wax every part on both cars after the cars come home from a race, clean the truck and trailer prior to a race and sometime before we get to the race.  It takes me a couple days to clean one car. Most people think it is too much work or I am just crazy. It’s a bit of both but they always look new. I take pride in that.

To run two cars it takes a lot of dedication, passion, time and of course, funding. In life, people have choices to make and for us we decided to have three ‘ kids’; two Pro Mods and our dog Bella. While most are spending money on clothes, parties, college and kids’ stuff we are trying to keep our program going. At times you ask why, but at the same time you have to say why not.  We are fortunate to able to race and provide excitement (to our fans) so let’s try our hardest to keep it going, right?

In our lives we make decisions that you live with for the rest of your life. Some bad decisions and some great ones ; in that time we create memories as well. For the most part we all want to keep the great memories and leave the bad decisions behind, yet learn from them.  This year was the 21st anniversary of my Mother being gone and it doesn’t ever get easier. But the one thing that I will never forget is how she always looked at me and made me feel. Each day that goes by I remember the great memories and how I drove her nuts. A mother of three boys, me being the last and the worst but I know my mother wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I learned how far I can push the envelope ‘til you had to pay the price. My mother taught me a lot of things and one thing she taught was never quit. To this day, I remember the day she passed .She fought and fought until everyone was there so she could say goodbye.  I have learned to live with good and bad and look at things differently.

We all want to race and win, but if you go out every race and try your hardest the word losing doesn’t exist in your mind. I call it Motivation.  So the next time some asks you why you didn’t win or says, “I can’t believe you Did Not Qualify”, say “Motivation got the best of us” and watch for the response. Remember, as long as you are HERE to say that; that is all that matters.

Andrew ‘Bam-Bam’

Type ‘A’ Personality and the Pro Mod

Dina ‘the Chef’ Parise

It has definitely been entirely too long since my last blog. But, with having a two car Pro Mod team and running things ourselves, sometimes I do get overwhelmed! I do like to keep our fans in the loop, so here goes.

The winter was long….very long. We tried to re-group. That was hard considering every time we attempted to get in a vehicle to go somewhere, the snow held us back. The weather just added to our frustration.

We did get a bit of a late start this season. With funding being a bit low, we did not have the freedom to go out and test as we had done previously. We are not the type to give up, though and somehow we make it work.

After getting a bit of testing in, we went to Maryland International Raceway for the NEOPMA event in May.  It was my first time back at the track since my crash there in August of 2010. As fate would have it, I was not to make a full pass there on this day either. I happened to be racing my arch rival…..Andrew Parise! I treed him and had him to just about half track until I had massive engine failure. The failure locked the rear wheels, and made the car bounce, when it came down, it shot me hard left riding the zoomies (up on the two right wheels) the whole way! Quite a ride! Many thought I was on the brake, and I’m guessing due to the rear wheel s being locked up that was how it sounded. As I got her settled down, my next dilemma was the approaching wall.  I got her turned to the right and just clipped the left front tire. All in all, not that bad…..Whew!  The staff and safety crew at MIR were right there to help. So was my friend J.J. from Derrick Townes crew! J.J. got my power shut off and helped me with my gear…..Thanks J.J.!

After that we took a well needed break. A month off, time to regroup. It just seemed nothing was going our way. It happens, I guess. Can’t let it get to you, though. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I believe that. We got my car in order took some time to think and went back at it. Trust me one month was enough…..we needed to get back out there! We were making one another crazy! Time to go racing!

We did some testing at Numidia Dragway. A beautiful place to be, with some of the nicest people you want to meet. We spent a few days there and got quite a bit accomplished. Next stop; Super Chevy.

The Super chevy Show at Maple Grove Raceway holds lots of memories for me and for us as a race team. It was the first place I saw my husband race and where I caught ‘the bug’ (much to Andrew’s dismay)! It also was where I took our Super Comp 67 Camaro down the track in a race for the first time. I had high hopes for this race. Last year, I was runner up to Jimmy Barker. This year, not so much. I did not even qualify. The car gave us problems. It’s ok. We will get it figured out. We have the best crew around. Last year I had wins, runner up and semi-final finishes. I know it’s in me and certainly in her (the car). I believe setbacks make you smarter. It makes you sit back and analyze your surroundings. That’s when you catch what you have been missing all along. I’m all about knowing the details. I’m very type ‘A’. I make my husband (and usually anyone in a 5 foot radius) nuts. Anyone who knows me, knows about my ‘quirks’ and usually just goes with it. It easier that way…… Remember, I’m an Italian woman from NY, I’m not easy to argue with. Anyway, Andrew had a good weekend at Super Chevy! He made it to the Semi-finals! That meant I had to crew for him. I don’t think I will be asked back for that job anytime soon. I was told I am annoying. Apparently I am not a good spectator and I am a worse crew member. I need to be behind the wheel, end of story. So noted!

Not sure what is next for Parise Racing, but we will keep you posted. As of now we are planning to continue running the NEOPMA races. If we can add anything else, we will certainly let you know! Be sure you check out (and like) our FaceBook page and check us out on Twitter as well! I update that on a regular basis and yes, it is me (or Andrew). So, feel free to ask a question or post a comment!

Remember if you see us at the races, come by and say hello!

~Dina ‘The Chef’

Allow me to introduce…….the Pro Mod?

With the introduction of a Driver Blog to our site, I thought I would bring you all back a bit to my introduction to Pro Mods (or Nitro Coupes as they were in the Super Chevy Show).

Andrew and I first met Dave Tomasino at the Super Chevy Show in 2004. Dave was driving a beautiful 1969 Chevy Camaro Nitro Coupe. Andrew was Bracket racing our 1967 Chevy Camaro. I just remember Dave’s Mom coming over to take photos of our car; funny thing was we were doing the same with his car.

Later that day, I got up the nerve to ask Dave if he could help us in any way with our ‘Racing for a Cure’ program to raise donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dave, being the kind of guy he is, went above and beyond to help us out. It was the beginning of a great friendship, and what I did not know the beginning of a great learning experience that would lead in a direction I had not anticipated at that moment.

We all became fast friends. Dave helped us, and we helped him. Over the season and into the next, we had a blast! The Super Chevy Show at Virginia Motorsports Park still leaves me with vivid memories. We were helping Dave. Along the way, we had met drivers such as Bruce Boland and Mike Swinarski to name a few. On this weekend, Mike and Bruce enlisted Andrew to help as well. He was helping start up both cars and as I remember bringing Bruce to the line. Now this does not sound like a difficult task, unless Mike and Bruce happen to run one another. Yes, you guessed it. So, there Andrew is, in between Mike’s ’53 Corvette Nitro coupe and Bruce’s ’33 Willy’s. First he went to Mike. He gave a bit of fuel into the Blower hat, Mike started it and BAM, and he stalls. Now, normally this would not be a big deal, but someone neglected to refill the fuel bottle, so there was barely enough to go around! So, now one more shot with Mike’s car….. and we are good to go! Now over to Bruce. Now, I have to tell you, Andrew is not the tallest guy around, and that did present just a bit of a problem when getting this Willy’s started. He had to lean way over to position himself (safely) to reach the Blower hat. Everyone was ready , and Bruce started her up! Now, we are back to the vertically challenged Andrew. Apparently, Bruce did not have the clutch pedal all the way down…..this caused the car to lurch a bit as it started, and proceeded to toss Andrew about five feet. Now, normally, one would gasp at the thought of that happening…Normally….I on the other hand found it very amusing (after I knew he was fine). The expression on his face was priceless! Maybe you had to be there, I don’t know, but we still give him a hard time about that to this day!

The friends made and the lessons learned, have helped to lead our team to being what it is today. We learned that you need to remember where you came from (as they all certainly did). Don’t be afraid to help someone out even if he (or she) is your competitor. That’s the name of the game. It’s all about sportsmanship. The sportsmanship and the camaraderie is one of the main things that drew me to this sport, and makes me love it to this day.

Dina Parise