One of the most interesting things I have been paying attention to over the past several weeks is how well Todd Parrott and Mike Ford have their teams running. To me, the story of their 2012 success, takes me back to the late 1990's and early 2000's when they both helped lead Dale Jarrett to many wins. Not only did they build a team that won many of NASCAR.s most prestigious races, they were the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champions (now Sprint Cup).
Parrott and Ford have a tremendous work ethic, and most of all, anything less than winning is unacceptable. A lot has changed since winning the 1999 Championship, but they both know all of the ingredients it takes to put the right people in the right places. In their current situations, I have to believe they have grown comfortable working with one another. Mike is coming off of several successful years with Joe Gibbs Racing and Todd has been working tirelessly to bring Richard Petty and the other RPM owners back to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Todd has a lot of experience and has continued to have a strong relationship with Ford Racing.
A third member of that 1999 Robert Yates Racing/Ford Quality Care championship team has his driver, Kasey Kahne, on the longest streak of 8 consecutive top ten finishes in his career (up through Dover spring 2012). Not to mention, a Coca-Cola 600 victory on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Francis and Kahne have had one of the most unique working relationships that I can remember in the current era of NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing. They became a driver/crew chief combination at Evernham Motorsports several years back, and, both have been through several different ownership groups together. With each change, they have managed to stay together and find ways to succeed. This is something you don't often see, but they have been able to have success with each organization they have raced with. Now, with them both planted solidly within the Hendrick Motorsports organization, I see even more success coming their way.
One of the things I always try to pay attention to is other people's progression within the sport. The things I find intriguing are how the team leaders build the people around them and I feel that these individuals learned so much from working with Robert and Doug Yates. Their approach not only created ways for Robert, Doug, and their teams to be successful, their philosophies allowed the people that worked for them to also learn how to build success around themselves. It is one thing to build winning teams but the craft of passing down those winning ways it tough to accomplish.
When I watch other forms of sports and motorsports I pay attention to the demeanor of the managers, coaches, and players to see if there is anything I can learn from the outside looking in. And, in the case of Todd Parrott, Mike Ford and Kenny Francis, I have had what I would consider 2nd or 3rd hand contact with them, at different stages of our careers. There is a certain determination in all three of these guys that we can all learn some positive traits from, and I feel fortunate that my experiences have gotten me a little closer look into how these guys achieve success.
NASCAR racing is full of motivating individuals that we can all learn from. I am talking about all levels of NASCAR racing, not just Sprint Cup. There have been so many individuals that I have worked with in racing and I feel certain that I have learned something valuable from each one of them. I may not even apply what I have learned to the technical side of racing or maybe not even apply the lessons I learned to racing at all, but I know I will apply the positives that I have learned to my life in some way.