Brad Parrott, car chief of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, held a brief Q&A session in the Martinsville Speedway Infield Media Center before NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying to discuss his departure from Robert Yates Racing and re-hiring at Roush ...
Brad Parrott, car chief of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, held a brief Q&A session in the Martinsville Speedway Infield Media Center before NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying to discuss his departure from Robert Yates Racing and re-hiring at Roush Racing.
BRAD PARROTT , Car Chief - No. 99 CITGO Taurus:
"First of all, I'd like to say that there's not a better person in this garage area than Dale Jarrett. He's a great person, individual and race car driver. I worked from February 1st to Tuesday and had one day off. I worked to make Dale Jarrett the best race car driver in the garage area and I'm sorry I couldn't make that happen. I'm here this weekend and I'm racing with Jeff Burton for the next three years for sure. I've got a contract now and I'm happy about it. I know Jeff Burton is gonna go out and win a lot of races and I'm gonna help Paul Andrews. I'm gonna be the car chief on the 99 CITGO team and we're gonna go win races and go have fun."
WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
"I was told there were too many opinions and that comes from going in the truck at Texas. I stayed out by the car and worked on the car at Texas a little bit and went in the truck and there were four guys in the truck telling Dale what the race car needed, so I turned around and walked back out."
HOW MUCH AUTONOMY DID YOU HAVE WITH TODD BEING A HANDS-ON PERSON?
"The only part I had to handle was from setting up the race car getting it to the race track. Todd's job was to get the cars to me in race form. That's how Doug wanted to set it up and when I got them to the 88 car setup pad, then that car belonged to Brad. That was Brad's responsibility. My responsibility was the race car - getting it to the race track and the pit crew. Todd was a great asset. Todd helped me along. We didn't have a whole lot of day to day communication because he was in a different shop, but I can say one thing - I never once had the opportunity to put a Brad Parrott setup underneath the race car. It was always, 'What does he have? What does he have? Or what does he have?' It wasn't, 'Brad, what do you think we need?' Never once."
ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE TIMING AND DO YOU FEEL THROWN UNDER THE BUS BY THE COMMENTS TODAY?
"Not at all. This is Winston Cup racing. It's a cut-throat business. Every guy in the garage area, we lean on each other in the garage. I've had a lot of guys come up to me and say, 'You didn't get enough time.' I had crew chiefs come up to me at Bristol and said, 'What's the problem?' I said, 'I have no idea.' We worked on it on a day to day basis and couldn't get it any better. I'm very happy to have the opportunity with Roush Racing now."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO TODD?
"Todd is taking a month off and he'll evaluate his situation when it comes time, but you'll have to talk to him about what his plans are."
DO YOU FEEL TODD IS BURNED OUT?
"We've been racing 20 years. It's kind of hard to get burned out when you got burned out the first five years. When we worked the first five years in Winston Cup racing, we worked seven days a week. We drove to the race tracks. We did everything we could do. We went out and drank until three o'clock in the morning. You can't burn a Parrott out. You can't (laughter)."
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT HAVING FOUR PEOPLE IN THE TRUCK AT TEXAS, DO YOU MEAN DRIVERS AND OTHER CREW MEMBERS AND DO YOU FEEL YOUR OPINION WASN'T VALUED?
"No, my opinion was valued, but not to the extent of what Jeff Burton let me do last year. I won five races with Jeff Burton last year in the Busch Series, but that is the Busch Series. This is a totally different, non-pressured situation. We went out and had fun and won races. Jeff would walk off from me everytime and say, 'Do whatever you think you need to do to the car.' And I got it done. We went to Rockingham and made the adjustments during the race to make Dale Jarrett and the 88 car go to Victory Lane and then after that I don't think we ever finished a race without hitting everything. You can't win unless you have a clean car at the end of the race. I can't control what happens during the race. I can control what qualifies. You've got to qualify good, but you look at everybody's record. Matt Kenseth doesn't qualify good every week and he takes it to the front, and Dale Jarrett takes it to the front. But when you don't have the race car, with the way the aero is now and the way of setups, you're in a lost cause in trying to figure out. We bent a fender at lap 72 in Atlanta. On the same run, we pulled two rubbers out of the rear and the car went totally to crap. We did everything we could to get it back and never could get it back because of the aero - 200 miles an hour into the corner."
DID YOU TALK TO YOUR DAD AND WHAT DID HE SAY?
"Yeah, I heard from dad. He remembers the time back in 1978 that he walked into the DiGard shop and took care of business. He asked me if I took care of business and I said, 'no' because times have changed."