BOBBY MARTIN TO DRIVE PARKERTECH DODGE IN '08
Feb 28, 2008
Author: Bobby Martin
It's official. I have the privilege and honor of wheeling the always-tough
ParkerTech Dodge Charger Funny Car for the season. This represents a major
step forward in my career and I thank Frank and Dan Parker for the
opportunity. Here's the official announcement from the team:
Dodge Charger NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car
ParkerTech Racing Services and Bobby Martin Racing to Contend the 2008 Season
Two leading teams are expected to equal one top team.
Milford, Michigan - Frank Parker, Dan Parker and Bobby Martin today
announced their agreement to combine forces under the ParkerTech Racing
banner. The father and son Parker team has consistently nibbled at a
national top ten points finish, never finishing lower than thirteenth. The
team has always been third or higher in Division 3. Since 2001, Martin has
also been a regular in the top ten of Division 3, with a best of fourth in
2006. Martin is well known for his off-track work as a proponent for
technical education. Chrysler's College Automotive Program (CAP) will
continue its thirteen-year sponsorship of Martin, one of the longest running
in alcohol racing, but at a more modest level.
The Parker's current car wears the first 2007 Dodge Charger Alcohol Funny
Car body from Mopar. Martin has the second body delivered. By combining
their experiences with similar cars, their skills in tuning Mopar Hemi
engines and their stockpile of parts, these newly allied racers are
anticipating multiple win lights this season.
"We're excited," said team owner and crew chief Frank Parker. "Bobby has
shown us he can handle a car well in a variety of situations. His
personality fits the business philosophy and team culture of ParkerTech
Racing. Plus, he has the mechanical knowledge to recognize and explain
problems." Dan added, "We've known Bobby for years. He's like family. And
he can talk to us like family." The car received several upgrades, in the
off-season, including some modifications to take advantage of the new
driver's "Funny Car Jockey" stature.
Martin is equally stoked about his new ride. "Frank and Dan have shown what
they can do. They've been racing together for more than 30 years. You
can't buy that kind of teamwork and experience. The pressure will be on me
to achieve - and then advance - the high level of competitiveness they've
ParkerTech Racing's long-standing relationship with Lane Automotive will
continue, along with All-Star Performance, Mopar, Aeroquip Hoses, Red Line
Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Crane Cams, Total Flow Heads, Trick Titanium, Mr.
Gasket, Valco Cincinnati, Mancini Racing and Casebolt Financial. The team
will also partner with Chrysler's College Automotive Program (CAP),
Permatex, and VP Racing Fuels. Marketing and media tasks will again be
performed by Challenger Consulting.
- End -
We will open our schedule at the Gatornationals March 13-16. Last year, the
Gators was a bloodbath, with many teams setting career bests in speed and/or
ET. In fact, the class speed and ET marks were both reset at last year's
event. It'll be exciting to compete there with such a high caliber of race
car. It was killing me not to be able to say anything here as we worked to
secure sponsorship. Rumors were flying about what both Frank and I were
doing this year. We do have a nice sponsor roster as you can see on the
release, but we have some proven ideas for more marketing programs for
additional partners as well.
Another very cool part of all this is that my famous crew of Mike Meeks,
Larry Radke, Kevin Willhelms, and Kyle Pelfrey will all be there at
Gainesville. Frank and Dan will run the show, but I'll still have the same
great and familiar crew. Lori will be there too. That should make the
transition to hired gun easier and smoother. We've already spent some
quality time together, and the chemistry is there. We are all excited to
see what we can do as a team. Frank and I both feel that the new
combination of personnel will yield solid results.
My car, the CAP CHARGER, will see duty on the appearance circuit. I've
already completed a very nice gig at the Buffalo Auto Show. The show, which
ran Feb 6-10, saw attendance go up this year, always a good thing. The CAP
CHARGER was right there with the new Dodges, Chryslers, and Jeeps, which was
cool. (There was a lot of excitement about the new Challenger. Some guys
had their orders in already. Release date is in May.) There are a lot of
drag racing fans in Western New York, and I got to do a lot of bench racing
with them. I was also honored to speak to the dealer group and the
competitors in the Auto Tech competition at their awards banquet. The
Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Assoc. is one of the best hosts anywhere.
Thanks to Tom, Paul, Trey, and Betty for such a warm welcome even during the
chilly weather. I'll have photos from Buffalo and Virginia up once my
computer buddy, Jonathan, sorts all the tech stuff out. We definitely want
to keep you updated with pictures during the racing season!
Frank's car has a body that is identical to mine. His chassis is a Murf
McKinney, whereas mine is a Gordy with lots of Murf mods. Frank and Dan are
working on some new technology with the engine and transmission. With the
big Strange rear end, the car is absolutely state-of-the-art. With my small
frame (that's me personally, not the car), especially from the waist up, the
Parkers were able to lower the car for improved aerodynamics. The thing is,
in drag racing, none of that matters until you go to the track and make
runs. That's where the pressure's on me. I know Frank and Dan are bringing
a stout race car. Now I have to go out there and execute.
This year, all alcohol cars are required to have an "Indy seat," so called
due to its origin in Indy car racing. It's a form-fitting thing made out of
a type of foam. With that, and the other changes Frank made to the car, I'm
actually more comfortable in it than I was in my own car! I told Frank and
the guys this is the equivalent of a corner office. The accommodations are
first rate. There is also extra padding on the roll cage and, of course,
the shroud on the cage. You've probably heard a lot about this stuff with
everything that's been going on with John Force. Another thing that came up
with Force is the brake handle. With all his injuries, they changed the
brake from a pull to a push type. My car had the push type. But Frank's
car is the more common pull handle. But, hey, I'm NOT going in the sand!
Actually I'm not as concerned about stopping as I am about finesse stuff
like staging. Ya know, the Battlestar had a pull brake, but I've been using
the push type since 2001. It's just something you gotta get used to.
Preparations are underway full speed ahead. There are 20 great cars entered
for the Gators. This is going to get interesting. Thanks for reading.