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!    

If you promote it , they will come

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As ‘The Rumors Turn’:

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

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

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

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

See you all at the track!

Andrew ‘Bam Bam’ Parise

Veterans Day- Salute the Sacrifice not the Sales Tactics

We have become a nation where pop-culture rules the airwaves. It seems that a movie or ‘reality’ star having a stint in rehab or dying of a drug overdose puts the nation into a state of mourning. Where are the stories about actual ‘reality’? About the men and women who have put their lives on the line to secure the very freedom we all enjoy? The freedom for me to write this piece. The freedom for you to read it? Have we as a society become that superficial and desensitized?

According to the Department of Defense (DOD) the number of military casualties (KIA) from October 7, 2001 to July 28, 2015 are 6,825.The number of wounded (WIA) 52,351. The number of diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Cases (PTSD) is a staggering 138,197. What is missing from here is the number of suicide deaths. Did you know that 22 veterans take their own life each day? (If you need help: Suicide Hotline Phone: (800) 273-TALK (8255) http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ ) How often do you see that on the cover of the newspaper? How often do you see members of our Military on the front page of the newspaper or on a TV show for doing what they do? For putting their lives on the line. Sadly, not often enough. It seems having a limb blown off by an IED is not sensational enough to rival such heroic duties as overdosing in a brothel. But who am I to make that distinction?

One of the days of the year you will hopefully see our nation’s Military gracing the cover of newspapers and magazines is Veterans Day. Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and marked the end of hostilities of World War I. This occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. The day is always recognized on November 11th, regardless of the day of the week the 11th falls on. It is a day Americans are encouraged to say thank you to those who serve and have served our country to maintain the freedoms we all enjoy. Yet again, Americans have turned an important holiday of recognition into merely a sales tactic.

Now I ask you, what does the sale of a mattress have to do with the Veterans Day holiday? Still thinking? Absolutely nothing. If some of these sales involved ‘giving back’ by donating to a military charity or something of that nature, I could certainly understand the correlation. Unfortunately, most only utilize the ‘term’ Veterans Day for their own profit. Our Veterans deserve so much more.

Please remember our Veterans on this Veterans Day and every day. Let’s show our Veterans how thankful we are for their sacrifice on behalf of  this country, and what it stands for. Get involved! Take your children to a VA center to cheer up our Veterans. Fly your flags proudly. Head to a participating restaurant (listed below), purchase a ‘gift card’ and leave it behind to be given to a Veteran! Let us all give the respect to our Veterans that they so truly deserve. Every little bit makes a difference! Our Dina Parise Racing team has always believed that!

Thankfully there are companies out there that do pass along the gratitude that our Veterans deserve! There are many companies that will provide Veterans with discounts or a free meal. I have included the list of restaurants below.

Andrew and I are off to spend the evening with some amazing Veterans and their families!

Thank you to ALL our Veterans and to those currently serving our country! We appreciate your sacrifice!

See you at the Races~

Dina Parise


Below is the list of restaurants offering discounts or a free meal for our Veterans.

You will find more discounts by visiting: http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/ . We thank them for this list!

Two notes before heading out:

  • Proof of Military Service. Most companies require some form of military ID. These include: a Military ID Card (active/reserve/retired), VA ID card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Drivers License with Veterans Designation, Photograph in uniform, wearing your uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification. Note, there is a New Federal Veterans ID Card coming soon. Other restaurants and companies may go by the honor system.
  • Participation. Second, always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies. We will do our best to keep this page updated as we find new info.

2015 Free Veterans Day Meals

Note: We are frequently updating this page with 2015 offers as they become available. Please verify dates, participation, and availability.

Applebees , free meal, Nov. 11, 2015: Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active service members. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. There will be 7 entrées to choose from, beverage and gratuity not included. Military ID or proof of service required. More.

Bar Louie America , Free meal on Nov. 10th and 11th, 2015. From open to close November 10th and 11th every Bar Louie location across the country will offer veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value. Available at participating locations, military ID or proof of service is required. Locations.

BJs Restaurant and Brewery, Nov. 11, 2015. Free entree, up to $12.95 value. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. More info. Locations.

Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2015. Free All you can eat hotcakes. For active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. More Info. Locations.

Bonanza Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2015. Free Veterans Day buffet at participating locations. More info. Locations.

Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille. Free 6 oz Sirloin and two sides. Locations.

Buehler’s Grocery, Nov. 11, 2015. Free breakfast menu meal for veterans and active duty military. From 7:00 am until 11:00 am at participating locations. Locations.

Buffalo’s Cafe, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal at participating locations. Locations.

Calhoun’s Restaurant, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal, choice of Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Half Slab of Ribs, Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Pork Plate, “Ale” Steak, Fresh Chicken Calhoun, and Southern Fried Catfish. Proof of Service required. Locations.

California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2015. Choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu. Dine-in only. Please come in uniform or bring your military I.D. or other proof of service. Find a location near you.

Carraba’s, Monday Nov. 9 – Sunday Nov. 15, 2015. Free appetizer of your choice for active duty service members and veterans. Military ID or proof of service required. Locations.

Cattlemens Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2015. Free 8 oz Sirloin Steak Dinner on Veterans Day. Includes all-you-can-eat salad, sourdough bread, baked potato, and ranch style beans. Proof of service required. Locations.

CentraArchy Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal for veterans and 25% off meals for accompanying guests at Fiesta del Burro Loco, all California Dreaming restaurants, Carolina Roadhouse, all Chophouse 47 restaurants, Gulfstream Cafe, Joey D’s Oakroom all New York Prime restaurants, and The Tavern at Phipps. Locations.

Cheeseburger in Paradise, Nov. 11 2015. Free All-American Burger with fries with purchase of beverage and military ID or proof of service. Available to active military or veterans. Beverages and gratuity not included, dine-in only, and participating locations only. More info. Find a location near you.

Chilis Restaurant – Free meal, Nov. 11 2015. Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of any lunch combo, or your choice of a dinner meal from a select menu, including any full-size flatbread. Offer only available at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.

City Barbeque, Nov. 11, 2015. Free sandwich platter at participating locations. Proof of service required. Locations.

Claim Jumper, Nov. 9, 2015. Free entrée from select menu, with official proof of service. Dine-in only. Locations.

Cotton Patch Café, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal for current and former military members. Choices include full-size chicken fried steak, or chicken fried chicken. Proof of service required. Locations.

Country Cookin, Nov. 10, 2015. Free meal for current and former military. Proof of service required. Please note the date – this is valid the day before Veterans Day! Locations.

Denny’s, Nov. 11, 2015. Free Build Your Own Grand Slam® on Nov. 11, from 5 a.m. to noon for all active, inactive, and retired military personnel. Participating locations only. Please call ahead. Locations.

Fatz Eatz & Drinkz, Nov. 11, 2015. Free World Famous Calabash Chicken® meal for current and former military members, 11am until close. Proof of service required. Locations.

Fox and Hound Bar and Grille and Bailey’s Sports Grille, Nov. 11, 2015. Free Sandwich or Entree (up to $10) for active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. Locations.

Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2015. Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner with ID. Dine-in only. Limited to one per person. Offer available for active military and veterans with ID or discharge papers. Participating locations only. Locations.

Glory Days, Nov. 11, 2015. Free appetizer or an order or boneless wings. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. Locations.


Golden Corral free veterans day meal Golden Corral – Free meal, Nov. 11, 2015 (5pm – 9pm): The 15th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation dinner. For more information visit http://www.goldencorral.com/military/.

*Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 4.4 million free meals and contributed over $10.2 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization. Amazing!*

Green Mill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free menu item for lunch or dinner. Offer includes any single item from our menu. Pizza restricted to a small one-topping Deep Dish. Proof of military service required. More Info. Locations.

Grub Burger Bar, Nov. 11, 2015. 50% off of meal, and a free Caramel Apple shake. Proof of military service required. More Info. Locations.

Hooters, Nov. 11, 2015. Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal from a select menu. Requires drink purchase. Only valid at participating locations. Locations.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal form the American Values Menu, Nov. 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Dine-in only, valid ID or proof of service required. Valid at participating restaurants only. Locations.

Hurricane Grill & Wings, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal from special menu at participating locations. Proof of service required. Locations.

Hy-Vee , Nov. 11, 2015. Free Veterans Day breakfast from 7am – 11am at all participating Hy-Vee supermarkets with in-store dining. More info.

IHOP, Nov. 11, 2015, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free Red, White and Blue pancakes, or Red, White and Blue pancakes combo plate including eggs, bacon and hashed browns. Participating locations only. Please call ahead to verify participation. More info. Locations.

Little Caesars Pizza , Nov. 11, 2015. Free pizza or $5 HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo to all US Armed Forces veterans and active military members between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. With proof of military service, at participating stores nationwide. Call ahead to verify participation. Locations.

Longhorn Steakhouse , Nov. 11, 2015. Complimentary Texas Tonion and non-alcoholic beverage. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required. Visit their site to find a location near you.

Max & Erma’s , November 11, 2015. Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo, which includes tortilla soup or side Caesar salad, seasoned fries, and chocolate chip cookies. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. More info. Locations.

McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 8, 2015: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 17th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 8th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. For more information visit: McCormick and Schmick’s Veterans Appreciation Event.

Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2015. All veterans and current servicemembers will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Veterans Day. Locations.

Misison BBQ, Nov. 11, 2015. Free sandwiches to active duty military members and veterans at participating locations. Locations.

MOD Pizza, Nov. 11, 2015. free pizza or salad to for active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. Locations.

O’Charley’s, Nov. 9, 2015. Free entree from the $9.99’er menu for all active military and veterans with proof of service. Find a location near you.

The Olive Garden, Free entrée, Nov. 11, 2015. Offer good for veterans and active duty military; proof of service required. Guests that dine with a Veteran also receive 10% off of their bill as well! Locations.

On the Border, Nov. 11, 2015. Veterans and current servicemembers will receive a free choose 2 or choose 3 “Create Your Own Combo”. Dine-in only, proof of service required. Find a location near you.

Orange Leaf, Nov. 11, 2015. Free frozen yogurt (up to 11 0z.). Proof of service required. Locations.

Outback Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2015. Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also receive 15% off your purchase from Nov. 12-Dec 31, 2015. Locations.

PDQ Tenders, Nov. 11, 2015. PDQ Free 3 piece Tenders or Sandwich with a military ID or uniform. PDQ also offers 50% off the entire order for all active/retired military personnel on the first Monday every month. Locations.

Pinnacle Entertainment (Casino Chain), Nov. 11, 2015. Select locations are offering a free buffet meal for current military members and veterans. Some locations include Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk, Colorado, L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, Louisiana, Cactus Petes Resort Casino, Jackpot, Nevada, and Retama Park, Selma, Texas. Please call ahead to verify times and participation. ID or proof of service required. More info and locations.

Ponderosa Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2015. Free Veterans Day buffet at participating locations only. More info. Locations.

Primanti Bros, Nov. 11, 2015.. Free Sandwich for veterans and active duty military. From 4pm to close at participating locations. More info. Locations.

Red Lobster – Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12, 2015. Free Appetizer or Dessert during the week of Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers and desserts. Find a location near you.

Red Robin, Nov. 11, 2015. Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. Locations.

Rock & Brews, Nov. 11, 2015. Complimentary pulled pork sandwich with a side choice of natural fries, house potato salad, pasta salad or coleslaw. Proof of military service required. More Info. Locations.

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free garlic cheese bread or hummus with grilled herb flatbread for active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. Locations.

Sheetz, Nov. 11, 2015. Free lunch at participating locations. Free car wash also available at participating locations, Proof of service required. Locations.

Shoney’s, Nov. 11, 2015. Free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, Proof of Service required. Shoney’s also offers a 15% everyday hometown heroes discount (military, fire, Police, EMT). Locations.

Sizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2015. Free lunch served until 4pm. Choice of 3 entrees, and a free coffee, tea, or fountain drink. Not valid for salad bar or gratuity. Valid with proof of military service. Dine-in only at participating locations. Locations.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal from special Veterans Day menu at participating locations only. Locations.

The Spaghetti Warehouse, Mon Nov. 9th through Wed Nov. 11th, 2015. Buy one entrée, get one free. Coupon Required (available on their website and FaceBook page on Nov. 3). Choose any of 11 Original Recipe Spaghetti entrées and receive a second entrée free. Friends and relatives are encouraged to treat a veteran to a meal. More Info. Locations.

Starbucks, Nov. 11, 2015. Free tall brewed coffee for active duty, veterans, and their spouses. Participating stores only. Please call ahead.

Tap House Grill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal for service members and veterans with proof of service. Dine-in only. Locations.

Texas Roadhouse, Nov. 11, 2015. Free lunch event to honor the men and women of our armed forces. Choose from one of 10 free meals, plus sides and a soft drink, coffee, or tea. Offer good for All veterans – including all active, retired or former U.S. military. ID Required. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify times and locations. Find locations.

T.G.I.-Fridays, Nov. 11, 2015. Free lunch for all current military members and veterans from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Valid ID or proof of service required. Dine-on only at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details. Locations.

Tijuana Flats, Nov. 11, 2015. Free lunch at participating locations. Locations.

Tony Roma’s , Nov. 11, 2015. Free half rack Baby Back Ribs at select Florida locations. For current and former military members with valid proof of service. Valid at select locations only. Please call ahead to verify participation. Locations.

Tubby’s Sub Shops, Nov. 11, 2015. Free small Grilled Steak N’ Cheese or Tubby’s Famous Sub at participating Tubby’s locations. Take out only. Locations.

Twin Peaks Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2015. Free menu item at participating locations. Please call ahead to verify participation. Locations.

UNO’s pizza Chicago Grill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free individual pizza or entrée with the purchase of a pizza or entrée of equal or greater value. Available for all active duty and veterans. No coupon necessary; proof of service required. Don’t forget to tell the staff you are there that day to support Wounded

Warrior Project, and a portion of your party’s check will go to benefit the Wounded

Warrior Project, an awesome military charity. Find a location near you.

Village Inn, Nov. 11, 2015. Free breakfast any time of day (choice of buttermilk pancakes, French toast, or a Belgian waffle). Wednesday is also Free Pie day, and veterans will be able to receive a free slice of pie. Veterans who visit on Veterans Day will also receive a “Thank You for Your Service Card” valid for 20% off their total bill on their next visit. Participating locations only. Please call ahead. Locations.

Wienerschnitzel, Nov. 11, 2015. Free hot dog and small soft drink at participating locations. Locations.

54th Street Grill, Nov. 11, 2015. Free meal, up to $12 value, valid for current and former service members. Proof of service required. Locations.


Dina Parise Racing Runners up, runs long to points leader!


The term ‘from hero to zero’ may just apply to the wild weekend the Dina Parise Racing team endured at US 131 Motorsports Park for the IHRA Northern Nationals. If it could happen it did. But frankly this hard working ‘grass roots’ team has seen and been through quite a bit in the past few years. They tend to be like a Timex… ‘Take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’!

Upon arrival the DPR team began working on Stella to prepare her for a quick test session on Friday. As small as this team is, they take their maintenance program very seriously. Andrew Parise is a stickler for everything being race ready before arrival at an event. Of course, anyone familiar with drag racing knows; always expect the unexpected. On that day, there was a plethora of unexpected issues that needed attention. The frustration being compounded by the fact that the Parise’s were having issues by no fault of their own. By 6PM Friday the team was able to make a test it. One is always better than none.

Rain has certainly been a mitigating factor in the 2015 IHRA Crower Pro Mod series. The President’s Cup Nationals fueled by Sunoco was concluded at US 131 Motorsports Park during the Northern Nationals presented by Aeromotive. Competition had been postponed due to Tropical Storm Bill back in June.

Once again (you may guess what’s coming next) it rained on Friday and there were only 2 (of 3) qualifying rounds completed for this event. The first of the two came very late on Friday evening. Again Saturday morning, rain. Apparently Mother Nature is at a point in her life where she is needing some mood altering drugs or perhaps just a nice bottle of vino and some chocolate. Either way, her moods are wreaking havoc on our racing schedule!

In round 2 of qualifying Dina Parise ran Billy Harper in the Presidents Cup Final. Harper took the win with a 5.963 at 245.50 mph over Parise’s 6.244 pass at 197.98 mph. “It was surely a tough loss.” Stated Dina Parise. “Twice a bridesmaid, and never a bride. My second final this season and I did not do my job. I for sure was not on my ‘A’ game with Stella. I was holding back a bit. But in the scheme of things we are certainly making progress, much due to our work with Quain (Stott). I have a kick butt hard working team. I can’t thank them enough for all they do.”

With Parise’s 6.24 pass it was enough to get her into the field. She was to face #1 qualifier Steve Matusek in round 1 of eliminations. Parise knew she needed to be on her game for this run. Quain Stott had been stepping up on the tune up bit by bit. Stella left the line well. She was on a good pass. For sure headed in the right direction tuning wise. Matusek took the win with a 5.937 at 245.50 mph over Parise’s 6.136 at 230.41 mph.

This race did not end at the stripe however. Parise engaged in her normal ‘shutdown’ procedure but all did not go as planned. Her chutes did not deploy as they should and getting Stella to come to a full stop was more of a task than she bargained for. “Well, let’s just say I took a trip to the beach and no bikini’s were required!” Stated Dina. “Wow, certainly not how I wanted to end this weekend. I pulled the chutes but I could not feel them at all. I knew it was going to be rough getting her slowed down. The pit kept getting closer. Before you knew it I was playing in the sandbox! Crap! I knew it was going to leave a mark on my beautiful Stella. But frankly it beats the alternative! On a positive note, she was picking up all weekend. That Quain, he’s a keeper!” She smiles.

In true racer fashion, Parise exited her Cadillac Pro Mod and asked Mark Kinton (IHRA Safety Crew member) “What did I run? How’s Stella?” to which he replied, “Be quiet and listen to me. I’m your boss right now. Hush up and listen. Helmet off! Let’s go!” She complied. Not that she was given a choice.

The DPR team would like to thank IHRA Safety Crew for their quick response and care taken with both Dina AND Stella. Taking such care in the removal of Stella from her trip to the ‘beach’ has kept costs down for DPR to get her turned back around and back to racing form as quick as possible. The team also would like to thank everyone from the other drivers, announcers to the fans for their support and positive words.

“I realized she was going in (to the beach).” Stated Andrew Parise. “As long as I knew the shiny side was up, we were all good. I knew she was in good hands. Butch (Branzelle) and I got up there and she waved to me (from inside the ambulance) to let me know she was ok. She was cracking jokes in the ambulance. Ya, that’s my wife. She will be here all week, be sure to tip your waitress.” He shakes his head.

This DPR team is coming together. The changes made are purely positive and regardless of the slight mishap this team is on an upward slope. Dina Parise has just taken over the IHRA Crower Pro Mod Points Lead! She is currently 52 points ahead of Bill Lutz and 53 points ahead of Ruben Tetsoshvili. So yes, for a moment, it is back to hero! But if you know anything about Dina Parise you know this; she is a fierce competitor and she will not take anything for granted. She is well aware that this will be a fight to the finish.

“I cannot thank my crew enough” Stated Dina “My husband Andrew, Butch Branzelle and of course Quain Stott. We are a good team together. I am learning a lot from Quain. Trying to take it all in. A big thank you to Cynthia as well. She does not even realize how helpful she is!”

The DPR team continues to push the envelope in every way. From performance to detail this team acknowledges and does it all. Stella sparkles because of the products provided by USA Auto Supply and CRC Auto. She runs well and safely due to products such as DJ Safety, NGK, Speedwire Systems, Hoosier, Motorsports Unlimited and LAT Racing Oils. The DPR website looks great and runs efficiently thanks to the professionals at Crank It Media .A special thank you to ‘Uncle Mel’s Mystery Appitizers’. Please visit http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners . There you will find more information regarding the companies listed. The team encourages you to try the products and services these companies offer. The fact remains that they do use them all. That is the best recommendation! The DPR team would like to thank all of their Marketing Partners for their continued support!

Contact DPR to become a Marketing Partner as well! Let DPR work for you!

Get Social: Be sure to join the DPR team on all their Social Media! Their Website will show you the way! So for all things DPR please visit http://dinapariseracing.com/

Story Courtesy: Dina Parise Racing

Photos Courtesy : Dragstory.com

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.

Dina Parise Racing Takes High Performance Luxury to the Next Level!


High Performance Luxury: High performance luxury can be defined as space, comfort and presence but yet, is ultimately defined by the ‘feel’ of the overall vehicle. Emotion begins to distinguish the difference between a ‘luxury’ and a ‘mainstream’ car. Well, things just became emotional!

In the spirit of taking high performance luxury to the next level, the Dina Parise Racing team would like to present and welcome ‘Stella’, the NEW Cadillac CTS-V built by none other than Matheis Race Cars Inc.

“This build has certainly taken a bit longer than we had planned.” Stated Dina Parise. “This was not the fault of anyone, we just ran into a few snags along the way. And besides, perfection takes time, right? Stella is perfect! We gave her that name after my Nanny Stella. She was a tough, independent, a fiery (in every sense of the word) Red-Headed Italian! It just works!” She laughs.

Take the term ‘luxury’ out of it (for a moment) and what are you left with? Frankly, you are left with a bad ass, classy looking Pro Mod. No other way to define Stella than that. In putting the pieces of the Pro Mod puzzle together, her naming became the final piece. From the Cadillac CTS-V Body selection to the Chassis assembly through to the safety equipment as well as the paint and finishing touches, this car has been nothing short of a labor of love covered in a veil of secrecy for all involved.

Throughout the process DPR chose to keep Stella under wraps. In the initial stages, they showed a few build photos and that turned to ‘sneak peek’ photos soon thereafter. “Keeping her a bit of a mystery was fun for us and the fans!” stated Dina. “It was a great way to pass the time as well as recognize our Marketing Partners during the process. We made the absolute best of the situation. That’s what we are best at!”

Keeping Stella under wraps was especially tough for Rob Matheis of Matheis Race Cars Inc. “I have said before that I have been a fan of the Parise’s for a long time.” Stated Rob Matheis “So, when the opportunity arose to build the Cadillac for Dina we were all in. The fact that this car looks so close to the actual CTS-V will keep the fans wanting more. Admittedly keeping this build a secret was not easy. But in the end we are extremely proud of the product we have built for them.” Said Rob .

During the process of the build, DPR has gained the support of a few new Marketing Partners. “We are very thankful for the Partners we currently have as well as for the additional ones that have hoped on board with DPR!” Stated Dina.“ All of our Partners have assisted to make this happen in one way or another. We are very appreciative of that and are proud to represent all of them.” Said Dina

In recent months the DPR team released information regarding new Partner relationships. Due to the secrecy of the Cadillac project, some of their contributions (with their blessing) had been kept secret as well. Thankfully, the CTS-V is outta the bag and DPR can share the contributions made! Pay close attention, because you will definitely want to patronize these businesses once you see their work! (You can find a full list of Marketing Partners below). IMG_5767

As stated the car was built by Matheis Race Cars inc. What would a Supercharged Pro Mod be without a spectacular pair of Headers fabricated by Stainless Works. DPR is proud to be enlisted in the SW Army! A powerful race car such as this needs the best safety equipment around, so DPR of course went to DJ Safety! From Fire suit to boots and belts to chutes, DJ Safety has provided DPR with the best looking most effective safety equipment on the market today. Do not forget Bell Racing for the best melon protection around! Safety and comfort makes for a great race day!

The final stage leading to the reveal of course was making the Cadillac look as perfect as she should. That was left to Paint by Bruce Mullins with materials provided by USA Auto Supply. “Anyone who knows me knows I have a crazy attention to detail.” Stated Dina “Bruce was a partner in my insanity. From the Headlights and the grill to the personalized license plate as well as the emblems, Bruce nailed it! Stella is a stunner!” Said Dina

Not only was the paint on Cadillac executed perfectly, but Andrew Parise and Bruce Mullins had a surprise in store for Dina as well. That surprise came in the form of a handwritten note (inside the driver’s door) from none other than IHRA Funny Car champion Bunny Burkett. ‘Set your goals high, don’t settle for less- Do it one run at a time. Be safe and win…..Your friend, Bunny Burkett.’ How cool is that?

So, Stella is out for the world to see. The DPR team looks forward to getting her down the track in competition shortly! Always remember safety first ‘cause Stella’s so bright…. You’ll hafta wear shades!

People always ask how the DPR team can get out there to do what they do. Marketing Partners are the key to DPR’s success! This team works hard to keep their Advertisers happy! Check out the Advertisers and go ahead and try their products and services! DPR uses them all! Thank you to NGK, LAT Racing Oils, CRC Industries, Bell Helmets, DJ Safety, Stainless Works, Speedwire Systems, USA Auto Supply, Matheis Race Cars Inc., Hoosier Racing Tire, Browell Bell Housing, Axcel Sports,Trailer Valet and Coast 2 Coast Cuisine TV for their support throughout the season and beyond! Visit here: http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners   for all their websites and details! Contact DPR to become a Marketing Partner as well! Let DPR work for you!


Get Social: Be sure to join the DPR team on all their Social Media! The Website will show you the way! So please visit http://dinapariseracing.com/ to learn more about the DPR team! Then join the fun with the team on: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget Bella the Wonder Pug too https://twitter.com/ProModBella !

Photos and Story courtesy Dina Parise Racing

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……


Dina Parise Racing~ Keeping the Memory in Memorial Day


It seems that in this day and age we are a society driven by instant gratification and plagued with short term memory. What ‘sells’ on the news and in print are stories about the impending nuptials of stars (reality or actual celebrity) or the death of a celebrity (many times due to their own addictions), not stories regarding how many soldiers were lost that day or even that week. Sports stars are being labeled as heroes merely for putting a ball into a net or carrying it over a goal line. It is Sensationalism VS. Realism and reality is certainly the victim in this scenario.

The fact remains that more than 7,000 American service members (Male and Female) have been killed since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and well over 50,000 have been injured. Many of those injuries so severe, that if they were sustained in a prior conflict the soldier would not have survived. Our nation has been entered in many conflicts. The loss and injury numbers are staggering. As years go by our country and its citizens seems to hold less regard for those who sacrifice so much defending it and protecting the very freedom enjoyed by all.

Back to Reality: The reality of it all is that what has become ‘important’ is really not reality at all. The shift in what has ‘meaning ‘has come down to where the money is rather than where the morality is. It has become more important to plug a non-talent reality star’s wedding than Medal of Honor recipient (former) Army Sgt. Kyle J. White , especially on Memorial DayWeekend? Has Memorial Day become more about the sales in the stores, the Barbeques and the beer? Does anyone actually know the real meaning of Memorial Day? Who takes the time to go to a National or Veteran Cemetery to pay respects or place a flag? Not many. This needs to change.

The Dina Parise Racing team has had the honor on a few occasions to participate in ‘Fleet Week’ at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. It is a breathtaking place to be no matter the time of year. Fleet Week happens to fall during Memorial Day Weekend .The team has met people from all over the world. One woman from Sweden really hit the nail on the head with what she said. She asked “What is this Holiday? I see Red, White and Blue everywhere. There are sales in all the stores, but I do not understand what the Holiday is. Can you explain it to me?” Our DPR team obliged. ‘ Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered.’ But are they?The unfortunate reality to that is it seems the younger generation has the same question. We need to bring back the importance of this and all the Veteran holidays because the honor has been earned.

Now, of courseno one is saying do not have a ‘Welcome Summer’ Barbeque, or do not go shopping for that perfect pair of sandals. The point is, to remember why you can do all of these things you are doing with such ease. Take a moment to reflect. If you see a Veteran, thank them. Take you children to a National Cemetery to place a flag or have them volunteer in a VA home. Giving back to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom is not too much to ask.

Always remember Freedom is not Free…… Hate the war, not the warrior…. Fly your flag proudly!

On another note….. the DPR team will be seeing you all out there soon! More to come shortly!

People always ask how this DPR team can get out there to do what they do, especially with our US Military! Marketing Partners are the key to DPR’s success! Check out the Advertisers and go ahead and try their products and services! DPR uses them all! Thank you to NGK, LAT Racing Oils, CRC Industries, Bell Helmets, Hoosier Racing Tire, Speedwire Systems, USA Auto Supply and Trailer Valet for their support throughout the season and beyond! Visit here: http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners   for all their websites and details! Contact DPR to become a Marketing Partner! Let DPR work for you!

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Story and Photos by DPR