While Dale Jarrett is acclaimed this week as the Winston Cup champion, the man who played perhaps the biggest part in getting him there is mostly enjoying it with a quiet smile.
Todd Parrott, the crew chief on Jarrett's No. 88 Ford Quality Care Taurus, has won NASCAR's biggest honor before, but not as a crew chief. He was a chassis specialist in 1989 for Rusty Wallace's championship team.
"I learned a lot of lessons from that championship," Parrott said Thursday as he stood only a few yards from Jarrett, who was surrounded by members of the media. "I know how hard it is to keep the momentum going.
"We had a championship team and we really had it rolling and then the owner sold the team the next year and everything changed," he said. "Right now, our team has chemistry. It has continuity. We need to keep that going if we want to win more championships -- and we all want to win more championships."
Parrott, 35, just finished his fourth year as a crew chief, all of them at Robert Yates Racing with Jarrett.
"Robert took a chance on a young guy who had never been a crew chief before," Parrott said. "He put me with a driver who had ability but hadn't won a lot, yet, and we put together a group of people that we could really make a team out of."
Like Jarrett, whose father, Ned, was a stock car star, Parrott has racing in his background. Buddy Parrott, Todd's father, is a longtime crew chief and manager.
Morris Metcalfe, the longtime chief of timing and scoring, was picked to receive the Buddy Shuman Award.
The award, named for a NASCAR racing pioneer and official who died in a hotel fire in Hickory, N.C., in 1955, has been given annually since 1957 to a person or organization who have gone above the call of duty in service to the stock car sport.
Metcalfe, 72, has scored more than 3,100 races in a number of divisions. When he took over as chief scorer in November of 1955, the scoring was all done by hand. Now, it is done in three ways, utilizing transponders in the car, a backup button pushed by the car's scorer and the old manual method as a final fall-back.
The native of Morristown, Tenn., will retire following the Daytona 500 in February.
The Shuman Award is voted on by a panel of manufacturers representatives and is presented by Federal-Mogul.
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