Mopar Speed The Official e-Zine of Team Mopar Thursday, January 8, 2004 News Former Cup Chief Shawn Parker to Take Reins of Ted Musgrave's No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram CENTER LINE, Mich. - One of the brightest young talents in any NASCAR garage has...
The Official e-Zine of Team Mopar Thursday, January 8, 2004 News
Former Cup Chief Shawn Parker to Take Reins of Ted Musgrave's No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram
CENTER LINE, Mich. - One of the brightest young talents in any NASCAR garage has joined Team Mopar. Shawn Parker will take on the crew chief position of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram driven by Ted Musgrave for Ultra Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS).
"Shawn Parker brings a great amount of racing and engineering experience to Team Mopar and our No. 1 Dodge team at Ultra Motorsports," said Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports. "He's going to add a lot to all three of Ultra's Dodge teams. Our three teams act as one unit, we don't separate them, so we're very excited what he will add to each of our teams. His primary goal [however] will be for him and Ted Musgrave to win every [NCTS] race and the championship. With a veteran like Musgrave driving the No. 1 Mopar truck and the vast experience of Shawn Parker, we expect great things from them this season."
Musgrave piloted the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram to 13 victories between 2001 and 2003, more than any other driver in the series. In those three years, the team has never finished lower than third in the NCTS championship standings.
There is no reason to expect anything less from a Parker-led team. Parker, 29, moved from Canandaigua, N.Y., to North Carolina just after graduating high school in 1992. He immediately began working his way up through the Winston Cup garage with several premier teams, including Dodge's Penske Racing South.
Last season, Parker served as crew chief for Winston Cup drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler. After the death of his wife last September, Parker re-evaluated his priorities.
"I was ready for a change," Parker said. "I had to do what was right for me. Taking care of my son is number one."
But Parker still desired to remain working in racing. "I'm a racer," he said. "When this opportunity came about to work with Ted and the No. 1 team, I had to take it. Their past record speaks for itself.
"The racing and competition level in this series is just as good as anywhere else. It's a great situation for me to stay involved in racing and still focus on my family." The 2004 NCTS schedule features 25 dates, while the Nextel Cup has 36 regular races scheduled this season.
"I wanna have fun with Truck racing. It kinda reminds me of dirt track racing, with the one-day, special shows," said Parker, who started out racing dirt modifieds in the Northeast. "I wanna go in, take care of business and go home to my family."
That family-oriented approach is something Parker took into account when interviewing candidates for four (of seven) new other-the-wall positions on the team: front tire changer, front tire carrier, gasman and jackman.
"I came into a great Mopar team that was very competitive," he said. "We've brought in some good caliber people to fill a couple positions.
"We hired people with a clean, wholesome image -- people that are racers. These guys want things nice, neat and organized. I want people who are focused on racing and then, when they leave at 5 o'clock, they go home, spend time with their wife and kids and enjoy it.
"We put the people in place that I felt would work well together. There shouldn't be a sour apple in the bunch. I see this team being really, really strong."
Mopar is based in Center Line, Mich., and is the exclusive original equipment supplier of parts and accessories for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehicles.
"I see this team being really, really strong," he said. "People who don't make mistakes and understand what they're doing.
"I see this team as helping each other and gelling together real well. By the time we unload at Daytona, hopefully everybody will say to themselves: 'Boy, that team's got their act together!'"
-- Shawn Parker, newly hired crew chief of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram, who is confident about his team's ability to build upon the highly successful history of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram team.