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Racer Profile: Buddy Parrott

An Opinion

April 8, 2008

By Allen Madding

Allen Madding
James Kenneth “Buddy” Parrott was born in Gastonia, North Carolina. During high school, he won the state diving championship.

Around 1968, Parrott went to work as a tire changer for Huggins Tire, a Goodyear distributor responsible for supplying tires to the NASCAR circuit in the Eastern division. In 1970, Parrott took a job working for legendary NASCAR crew chief, Harry Hyde working on the K&K Dodge driven by Bobby Isaac. Isaac went on to win the NASCAR Grand National Division Championship that season.

In 1975, Parrott accepted an offer to serve as the crew chief for Ferrell Harris’ team. In 1977, he moved to DiGard Racing and assumed the crew chief role for Darrell Waltrip. While working with Waltrip, the team scored three NASCAR Winston Cup Championships and ten wins.

In 1984, Parrott served as crew chief for Richard Petty when he scored his 200th career win at Daytona in front of President Ronald Reagan.

In 1989, Parrott became crew chief for Bob Whitcomb Racing and driver Derrike Cope. In 1990, with Parrott’s carefully planned tire strategy working to a tee, Derrike Cope scored his first win in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the Daytona 500.

At the end of the 1992 season, Parrott accepted the crew chief position at Penske Racing South for the No. 2 team with driver Rusty Wallace. Parrott quickly made a difference in the performance of the team. In October 1993, at the Rockingham Pit Crew Competition, the Parrott-led Miller Genuine Draft team changed four tires and added fuel in 22.454 seconds setting a new record for NASCAR Winston Cup teams.

Parrott left at the end of the 1994 season to become the head of racing operations for Diamond Ridge Motorsports working with driver Steve Grissom. In two years working with Wallace, the pair had won 18 races.

In 1995, Parrott left Diamond Ridge after business disagreements with owner, Steve Bechtel. Parrott then went to work for Roush Racing. In 1997, Parrott served as Jeff Burton’s crew chief when he scored his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win at Texas. Parrott moved to serving as team manager for Mark Martin in the Roush Racing No. 6 for 1998.

Parrott tripped over cords in the team’s pit at California in May and was taken to the infield care center where he was diagnosed with a cracked rib. Parrott managed to get himself released from medical care in time to celebrate Martin’s victory in the California 500 Presented by NAPA in victory lane.

Parrott continued serving in a leadership role at Roush Racing and enjoying the fruits of his efforts until choosing to retire from racing in 2001 after 34 years in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

His sons, Todd and Brad have followed in their father’s footsteps. Todd served as Dale Jarrett’s crew chief for seven seasons including a NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. Brad also served as Jarrett’s crew chief in 2003 and as crew chief for Carl Edwards in 2005.

In 2004, Parrott was inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

Discuss this and other racing matters in the Prodigys@Speed Forum

You can contact Allen Madding at .. Insider Racing News

The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.

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