Crew chief Parrott vows to recover, return
October 23, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Parrott calls substance use an 'isolated incident'
Todd Parrott on Wednesday took the first steps toward participation in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program for substance abuse violators, and the suspended veteran crew chief vowed to return to the sport's top level.
In a pair of radio interviews Tuesday night, Parrott apologized for the chain of events that led to his indefinite suspension by NASCAR and eventual release from Richard Petty Motorsports. The former crew chief of RPM's No. 43 car was suspended last Thursday for an undisclosed violation of the sanctioning body's substance abuse program. The 31-time race winner said he tested positive during the recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Charlotte, although he declined to name the substance involved.
"I want to apologize to my family, to everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports, all my friends for being with me while I'm in this position," he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It's not something that I'm proud of, but it's something I'm going to address and fix. NASCAR has rules, and they have procedures, and they’ve administered them, and it is where I'm at. I'm ready to take the steps to get back into the sport that I love, that I've been around my whole life. I want to get back in that garage hopefully in time to win another Daytona 500."
Winner of the 1996 Daytona 500 and the 1999 premier-series title with Dale Jarrett, Parrott said he was chosen for a random test at Charlotte, and received a phone call last Thursday morning informing him the results were positive. Parrott said his use of the substance was an isolated incident.
"I was in a dark moment, and it happened," he told Motor Racing Network's "NASCAR Live" program. " ... The next morning when I woke up, I couldn’t believe what I'd done, and beat myself up pretty bad about it, and then I had to go and face the truth."
Parrott told SiriusXM that after meeting with RPM officials, his next step was to call John Bobo, who directs NASCAR's substance abuse program. The crew chief was scheduled to meet Wednesday with a counselor for an assessment to determine his recovery program. Before they are eligible for reinstatement, substance abuse violators must complete a Road to Recovery program specifically tailored to their offense.
"After I got the results and the word, I got the ball rolling pretty quick to let NASCAR know, let everyone know I'm going to do (it)," Parrott told SiriusXM. "I know it's not going to be pretty, it's not going to be fun. It's tough on my family, my kids, my wife, my mom, dad, my brother, everybody involved. But I'm going to do everything I can do to prove to everybody that I'm a whole lot better person than this."
Parrott is the son of a former crew chief who won 49 times at NASCAR's top level, and the brother to a crew chief who owns 18 Nationwide Series victories. He oversaw RPM's two most recent wins, both with Marcos Ambrose at the Watkins Glen road course. Parrott has been a crew chief since 1995 on the Sprint Cup circuit, and aims to return there once he is reinstated.
"I'm going to beat the bushes and see what's out there, and when I come back, I'm going to be coming back pretty strong," he told SiriusXM. "It's just part of my family. It's in my blood. NASCAR is where I want to be. It's all I know. It's all I've done. I'm going to work hard to get back to the top."