NASCAR BGN: Northrop Named Parker Racing Crew Chief
9 December 1998Hermie Sadler Is Pleased With Choice
Mooresville, N.C. - Ron Parker, Owner and President of Parker Racing, Inc., has announced Cal Northrop Jr. as the new crew chief for the No. 72 Parker Racing Team and driver Hermie Sadler in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division.
Northrop has grown rapidly in the sport since his move to Charlotte from southern California just six short years ago when he began paying his dues as a crew chief in the Winston Racing Series Late Model Stock division. His drivers notched over 100 wins as crew chief since his career began in 1983.
Working with young drivers like Todd Massey and Nathan Buttke in the Late Model Stocks, Northrop earned the Mid-Atlantic Regional NASCAR True Value Gold Wrench Award in 1994. He was also crew chief for Buttke as he made his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1996, earning an outside front row starting position and 3 top-10 finishes.
Northrop caught the attention of Richard Petty Motorsports and was named crew chief and chief mechanic for veteran driver Jimmy Hensley in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, finishing eighth in the 1997 CTS points standings with three Bud Poles and 13 ttop-10 finishes. Northrop most recently served as crew chief for Skinner Performance Motorsports for drivers Mike Skinner, Jamie Skinner and Dave Rezendes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"Cal has learned everything about preparing a car from the ground up," Sadler said. " I like the fact that he says he's still learning and that's important to me because even though I've been in the Busch Series since 1992, I feel I'm always learning. When a crew chief or driver quits learning, that's when he's in trouble.
"I could tell right off the bat that we have good chemistry and I'm a pretty good judge of that. As long as the chemistry is good, we'll be able to communicate with each other and that's key between a driver and crew chief. I've been given an early Christmas present by Ron Parker when he hired Cal Northrop."
"I interviewed several crew chief candidates, but when Cal Northrop became available and expressed interest, it didn't take us long to make our decision. I honestly didn't know him but in our initial discussions, I quickly saw that we share the same philosophy that the most important qualities needed to build a great team are open communication and fair treatment of people.
Cal Northrop is the kind of crew chief we need -- one that establishes a mutual respect with the driver and crew members before he gets into the technical aspects. We have some crew members that have been with Parker Racing since I formed this team in 1989 and their treatment is very important to me."
Northrop is thrilled with the opportunity to work with both Sadler and Parker Racing.
"There are crew chiefs out there with more BGN experience than me, but with all the new tracks that have been added to our schedule, I don't feel disadvantaged. This is a good team with a lot of experience and great chemistry. As long as we maintain good communication and a positive attitude, you're going to see Hermie Sadler and that No. 72 Chevy back in the winner's circle in 1999."
The 34-year old native Californian was bitten by the racing bug at an early age as a crew member for Oren Prosser, a veteran Modified "Outlaw" driver in the southwest. That's also when Northrop met his future wife, Doreen, the daughter of Oren Prosser.
Northrop tried his hand behind the wheel but decided he could better hone his skills on the other end of the car and began learning everything he could on all aspects of preparing a race car.
Northrop and his wife agreed that in order to further his career, NASCAR was the best venue and with Charlotte as the hub, they took the plunge and moved east with their two young sons in 1992. Northrop, his wife Doreen and sons Kyle (age 11) and Kevin (age 9) live in Randleman, N.C.
Parker Racing just completed 10 years in the NASCAR Busch Series and is located in Mooresville, N.C. Parker is also Chairman, President, CEO and majority owner of Indian Head Industries, a major international automotive and heavy duty truck parts supplier headquartered in Charlotte. MGM Brakes and Detroit Gasket, divisions of Indian Head Industries, have served as sponsors on the Parker Racing stable of cars since 1989.
Courtesy Parker Racing, Inc.