While some teams are getting ready to wrap up the season, others are just getting started.
For the husband and wife team of Andrew and Dina Parise, the World Finals at Rockingham Dragway will be their first national event of the 2009 season. And what a debut it will be.
A full field of Pro Modified teams are expected to be on hand at The Rock when the International Hot Rod Association comes to town for the final race of the 2009 season October 22-25.
So what has the Parise racing team been doing in the meantime? Racing, of course.
“I have watched IHRA for years and always wanted to race with the pros. IHRA has some of the best racers in the world and to be able to compete with them is a serious honor,” Andrew said. “This year we have dedicated a lot of time to R&D to work on our program and setup our cars and it has really paid off.
“We attended races with the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mods and the Pro Outlaw Doorslammers and I even won a race in MIR. To come to Rockingham and do well would be awesome. I would love for both of us to do well. As an up and coming team we are thrilled to be competing at Rockingham in IHRA.”
While the Parise racing team will definitely add an extra boost to the Pro Modified field at Rockingham, it is the uniqueness of having a husband and wife program that is the real story.
It is not uncommon for entire families to be involved in the sport, but often times that means leaving the spouses behind while the boys go off and play.
That just isn’t the case with the Parise family.
“When men go to the track they get away from their wives and girlfriends. Not me. Traveling is easy, I drive the truck and trailer and Dina does everything else. It is actually like being on a plane – I am the pilot and Dina is the co-pilot,” Andrew said. “Now racing each other, that is a different story.
“We both want the same thing and that is to win. We are both very competitive. I was a wrestler and she was a figure skater so the competition can’t be any more intense. But with two fiery Italians, it can be entertaining as well.”
The Parise Racing Team has existed for nearly a decade with Andrew getting his start behind the wheel 10 years ago and Dina joining him six years later. Simply put, after years watching her husband race, Dina began to catch the racing bug and wanted her own shot behind the wheel of a supercharged machine.
“I have always enjoyed watching Indy and NASCAR when I was younger. Then when Andrew built his Camaro and began to bracket race I was hooked,” Dina said. “No longer being satisfied watching, I needed to be behind the wheel. About three years ago Andrew handed over his 1967 supercharged Camaro and I hit the track for the first time. I have been hooked ever since.”
Both got their start in the world of bracket racing and it wasn’t until Dina asked a certain question that the pair finally made the leap to Pro Modified.
“As many people have told me, I created a monster. After Dina started driving the Camaro she wanted to go faster. How much faster was the question that I did not ask prior to buying another ’67 Camaro and have it setup for Top Sportsman,” Andrew said. “But Dina decided to pop the question – how about Pro Mod? I think I passed out.
“After getting up off the floor, we decided to build a Tim McAmis Pro Mod and the rest is history.”
With two cars and a sea of choices as to where to begin, all that was left was to decorate.
And over the next few months Dina created two of the most unique and incredible paint schemes in Pro Modified racing today. With Andrew’s car modeled after a P-40 fighter plane with a POW flag and American flag draped over both sides and Dina’s car featuring a number of scenes depicting American heroes, the pair of Pro Modifieds have become fan favorites everywhere they go.
“I created both paint schemes with the talent of Barney Squires of Performance Auto Crafters. We really wanted to make a statement with both cars and without being political we designed schemes that would honor the men and women who serve our country,” Dina said. “It is quite a piece of artwork. We want people to remember that freedom is not free.”
And both admit that they wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of many who have helped the team along the way.
“We would like to thank NGK for their support. They have been with us since our Super Comp days. We also would like to thank Goodyear for their support as well,” Dina said. “A special thanks to our crew chief Dave Jordan for his tireless efforts and for putting up with us. We also wanted to mention that we are raising donations and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. We hope what we do helps these organizations.”
Dina and Andrew Parise
So with two highly competitive spouses in two incredible looking cars working together in the pits and against each other on the track, the only question that remains is who usually has the upper hand on race day?
“I think Andrew is ahead of me so far in wins so I will have to be on my game. When we race each other, I think we really put on a great show for the fans and that is what it is all about,” Dina said. “But on a big stage like Rockingham, he had better look out.”
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