Parker, Dillon to part after season MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 1998) Ron Parker, owner and president of Parker Racing Inc. and chairman, president and CEO of Indian Head Industries (parent company of sponsors Detroit Gasket and MGM Brakes) ...
Parker, Dillon to part after season
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 1998) Ron Parker, owner and president of Parker Racing Inc. and chairman, president and CEO of Indian Head Industries (parent company of sponsors Detroit Gasket and MGM Brakes) announced that he and driver Mike Dillon will end their three-year relationship following the end of the 1998 season.
Parker Racing, which fields the No. 72 Detroit Gasket/MGM Brakes Chevrolet, is in their 10th year as owner/sponsor in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. They are one of the longest running owners and sponsors in the series.
"Mike and I had a meeting at my home last week to review where we started, how far we've come and where we're going from this point forward," Parker said. "As we sat around my breakfast table, we both admitted there were many offers coming at us this time of the year and we both agreed to release each other to explore those opportunities. We finished our breakfast, shook hands and left with the understanding we would let each other know if we became serious about these other offers.
"Mike has done very well in just three short years since coming into our series as a rookie. He's proven to be a top-10 driver, which has resulted in him having many other teams approaching him recently. And of course, Parker Racing is a stable, well-established team and I have had many drivers approaching me about the possibility of the No. 72 ride. We have been kind of stuck in 11th position the last few races and really couldn't put our finger on why we couldn't get back up to 10th. We both felt we have done all we can do and in my experience as an owner, when things get stagnant -- well, it's just time for a change in order to benefit both parties."
Parker is known as an owner who doesn't jump around from driver to driver and since he serves as both owner and sponsor of his own team, he offers the stability that drivers dream of. In 10 years, Parker Racing has only had three drivers. Parker began with L.D. Ottinger, who was nearing the end of his career and Parker likes to think he extended Ottinger's career for a couple of years. He then picked up Tracy Leslie after his company, Detroit Gasket, had served as a sponsor of Leslie's team in the ARCA series. He gave Leslie the No. 72 ride in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1991 which lasted for five years.
"Mike, Tina and their boys have become like family," Parker said, "and I would have no hesitancy in recommending him to any team as a good driver, a fine family man of good character and an outstanding representative for any sponsor.
"I have narrowed my decision for the future driver for the No. 72 Parker Racing team for the 1999 season, but I'm not at liberty to say anything further at this point. I can confirm we are in final negotiations and it is an existing NASCAR Busch Series driver for whom I have had high regards since he began in our series. We may be able to make a formal announcement within a week. But in the meantime, I know Mike Dillon and the crew will continue to give Parker Racing 110 percent the remainder of the 1998 season."
Ron Parker founded Parker Racing, Inc. in 1989, with the shop currently located in Mooresville, N.C. Parker's Indian Head Industries is a major international automotive and heavy duty truck parts supplier headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The divisions of Indian Head Industries (Detroit Gasket and MGM Brakes) have served as sponsors on the Parker Racing stable of cars since the beginning, as well as an event sponsor and associate sponsor of many other teams in several other sanctioning bodies in the past.
Source: NASCAR Online