It is with great sadness and deep regret that the 3-D Motorsports Racing Team wishes to pass along the news of the tragic and untimely passing of their driver, and friend, Dion Parish of Kalamazoo, MI.
Dion was lost to us on Saturday, September 14 2002 in a practice crash at Kalamazoo, (MI), Speedway. Dion was in the midst of shaking down his recently finished supermodified in preparation for the upcoming Midwestern Supermodified Association, (MSA), race at Sandusky, (OH), Speedway when the car suddenly and without warning went straight in turn two at Kalamazoo.
Dion had turned several slow laps on the fast 3/8 without any problems and was just getting the car up to speed when the crash happened. According to crew chief Dan Emmons, Dion had come out of turn four slightly higher than he had on previous laps. He accelerated normally down the front stretch and rolled out of the throttle entering turn one. As he accelerated entering turn two the car suddenly and inexplicably went straight and up the track. Dion left the track proper and hit the Kalamazoo Speedway Safety truck that was parked on the outer edge of the track just outside of turn two. It is believed that the impact with the safety vehicle killed Dion instantly.
Contrary to early reports the throttle on the car did not stick. "Dion clearly rolled out of the throttle going into one and then was accelerating through the apex of the corner when the car suddenly went straight," said Emmons. "At this point for all I know he could have blown a tire, but there's no way the throttle stuck and until I look at the car further I won't know for sure what happened, if we ever do. Right now that's the furthest thing from my mind."
Dion's passion was the supermodified division, which is known as "The Ultimate Short Track Race Car." Reaching speeds as fast as Indy type cars on one-mile ovals, Dion knew the risks inherit with this type of oval racing, but was willing to take that risk to follow his dream. While working with a shoestring budget he had completely refurbished his new car and was looking forward to doing battle with the MSA regulars for the last two races of the season.
His friends will remember him as intense, driven, and dedicated to the division he loved so well. However, they will also remember him as a lighthearted jokester that always had a smile and was willing to lend a hand whenever a fellow competitor needed it.
Funeral arrangements have been made with Betzler Funeral Home located at 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49609. Services will be held on Thursday, September 19 at 1pm in the afternoon with burial Friday, September 20 at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek, MI.
His wife Julie and daughters Mindy & Lindsey, and son Kenny survive Dion. Pending further notification and arrangements the family has asked for a time of bereavement and personal grief. The Parish family wishes to extend a heart-felt thank you to all of the racing community for everything it has done to help further Dion's dream of racing supermodifieds as well as all of the sincere expressions of sympathy already expressed.
Parish often competed with the ISMA supermodified organization in regional competition.