Todd Parrott, one of NASCAR's legendary crew chiefs, and the son of the legendary Buddy Parrott (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)
By Mike Mulhern
And the bad hits just keep on coming for this sport, which has been reeling for weeks now with a run of bad news, during what should be a celebratory charge in the national championship playoffs:
The latest: Todd Parrott, one of the sport's good guys, a superstar crew chief who led Dale Jarrett to the 1999 Winston Cup championship, and who has scored 31 tour wins in his career, was hit Thursday with indefinite suspension by NASCAR officials for violating the sport's substance abuse policy.
NASCAR, as is its policy, declined to specify the substance involved.
"Parrott was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book," NASCAR announced.
Parrott is currently crew chief for Aric Almirola and Richard Petty's legendary number 43.
Sammy Johns, competition director for the Petty team, issued a brief statement: "We have an expectation of all employees to conduct themselves at the highest level of professionalism and within the competitive confines as set forth by NASCAR. We are very disappointed one of our employees did not meet our expectations, and we completely support NASCAR, their policies and final decisions when it comes to the substance abuse policy."
Johns will be Almirola's crew chief here this week.
Parrott has worked with some of the top drivers in this sport, including Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, and Bobby Labonte.
While NASCAR has suspended a number of crewmen and drivers since instituting its 'zero tolerance' policy in 2009, few superstars have been hit like this. Parrott joins AJ Allmendinger (summer 2012) and Jeremy Mayfield (2009) as the biggest names.
Todd Parrott (L) and Matt Kenseth, one of many top-name NASCAR drivers Parrott has worked with over his career (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)