The Path

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- - It's often said that NASCAR is a community unto itself. When tragedy strikes, it affects everyone in the group. Tara Parker, the wife of Shawn Parker was killed along with two of her sisters on Wednesday night, September 10 when their car was struck by a drunk driver. After receiving a heart transplant in the summer of 2001, Tara made a steady recovery and shared in her husband's ascension to the top ranks of the sport.

Before joining Yates Racing, Shawn Parker worked for Roush Racing, Penske Motorsports, and Hendrick Motorsports at the Winston Cup level. It was with Hendrick Motorsports that he began his Winston Cup tenure. While still in high school in upstate New York, he was helping out at a local short track when he was introduced to Andy Graves. At the time, Graves was getting ready to start a new team at Hendrick Motorsports with a former modified driver from New Jersey named Ray Evernham. The team's driver was an open-wheel star from the midwest who won three races in the Busch series in 1992. "At that time, Andy was working at Hendrick Motorsports getting the people in place for the #24 team and Jeff Gordon who was driving in the Busch Series at the time," Parker explained. "Andy and Ray Evernham put the #24 team together and I moved down to Charlotte to work on that team."

Parker was a member of the DuPont team when Gordon made his Winston Cup debut in Atlanta at the conclusion of the 1992 season. He worked with Gordon's team through the end of the 1994 season-- the year in which Gordon scored his first Winston Cup win, and won the inaugural Brickyard 400. He moved on to Penske Motorsports after the 1994 season and later to Roush Racing before he joined Yates Racing in 2003. Once a Rainbow Warrior, always a Rainbow Warrior.

Condolences to everyone at Robert Yates Racing, and Tara Parker's family. Praying for you Shawn.

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