When Austin Dillon won last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas, Todd Parrott cried tears of joy.
As Xfinity Series competition director for Richard Childress Racing, Parrott wept not only for Dillon’s victory, but also for himself, finally able to return to Victory Lane after one of the most trying periods of his life.
Parrott, who served as crew chief for Dale Jarrett during their 1999 Winston Cup championship and 1996 and 2000 Daytona 500 wins, was suspended indefinitely in mid-October 2013 for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.
It not only cost him his job as Aric Almirola’s crew chief at Richard Petty Motorsports, at the time Parrott thought his entire 30-year racing career was over.
“It was hard. I was afraid when it happened, nobody wanted to take a chance (on me),” Parrott said in a story on RCRRacing.com.
“When I got the phone call (from NASCAR), I knew what had happened,” Parrott said. “I wasn’t going to hide from it, I knew I had screwed up and I’m better than that.”
Parrott quickly went through NASCAR’s Road To Recovery program, and once completed was reinstated shortly afterward.
“I was determined to fix the problem, do what I needed to do and come back strong,” Parrott said.
Shortly after his reinstatement, Parrott was hired on Feb. 3, 2014, as Sprint Cup Series crew chief for Tommy Baldwin Racing and driver Reed Sorenson. Shortly after the season ended, Parrott, 51, was hired by RCR to oversee its Xfinity Series program.
“I knew coming to RCR, that this place is very capable of winning races and championships,” Parrott said. “When I was a kid, to me Richard Childress was that guy other than my dad (Buddy Parrott) in racing.”
And now after Saturday’s win by Dillon, Todd has come full circle. He’s back in Victory Lane.
Click here to read the full emotional story about Parrott’s return to success.