not forgotten . . .

Dion Parish

Kalamazoo, MI
21.Mar.1967 - 14.Sep.2002

Posted on Pinners message board on September 14, 2007 by Bobby G.
 As we go through our busy Friday many of us are looking forward to a great weekend filled with family and friends. I don't want to ruin that for anyone but I do want to say that today is the 5th Anniversary of the day one of our friends was taken from us. We lost Dion Parish on this day at Kalamazoo five years ago. Many of you I am sure don't know who Dion was or why he was important to me or why and how his loss affected me personally. Read on and maybe you'll understand a bit more.

 To this day I miss Dion. His laugh, his excitement about the supers. I miss the phone calls and hangin out havin a beer. Dion didn't get to spend a lot of time in supers although his life long dream was to 'run against the best drivers on the best short tracks." (his quote). He always seemed to have a monkey on his back to some degree and struggled like many teams do nowadays just to make it to the track. His true love of the division though kept him going. At the deepest depths of despair over a car that wouldn't work, or lack of money, he would "Never Give Up."

 I am reminded of our friendship each time I get to hang around you guys on here or at the track. I hope that you too will take time to consider how lucky we each are that we have come to know each other through supermodified racing. While we don't always agree or see eye to eye on all things, it is important to remember that we are fortunate to know each other and be involved and able to follow our dreams. Either as fans, owners, drivers, promoters, or officials, we are all part of a very unique group of people and should truly count ourselves lucky.

 Life gets tough at times but I know I have many friends that I can lean on when the going gets rough. Most of that is thanks to supermodified racing and the network that has come from 30 some years of being around it.

 I hope you all feel the same, because we sometimes fail to realize how fortunate we are to have each other. We bicker and bitch about rules, admissions, concession prices, schedules, cheating, dominance, and lack of caring by track owners and sanctioning bodies. We complain and cut each other apart arguing about who's got the most valid point on any particular subject. I'm not pointing fingers because I've been as guilty as anyone else. It's like Pinner said on 9/11, time to take a break and reflect on what's important.

 Today, please stop to take time to appreciate what you have, each other, our division, and keep Mindy and Lindsey Parish in your thoughts even if for a brief moment. Like so many others involved with this division and sport, they lost their father and no longer can go to him for advice, comfort or love.

 It is because of the loss of their dad that SFJ and I was spurred on to use SUPRS as a venue to help those in time of need. I don't say this to brag or push an online racing league on you all. I say it because it is Dion's legacy that, whether you know it or not, lives on through each of you because of your support and/or involvement with SUPRS, and I thank and appreciate all of you for that. Thanks to all of my friends that I know because of this division and for accepting me as an outsider from IN to the town I've loved since I first visited in 1985. You all have made it easier for me to follow my dream and "Never Give Up!"

 Finally, to all of you that don't really know me yet, I hope that we can understand that we all try to have the best interest of the supers at hand but in the end it is about the friendships made and the memories lived. I may seem a little crazy, and don't want to bring anyone down when we have a great weekend of supermod racing at hand. I only want to let you all know on this day that I hope we can pause and reflect a little to remember a guy that was a lot like most of us when it comes to truly loving the supermodifieds.

"Keep It Wing Side Up and Wheels to the Ground", Bobby G.
   . . . written by Bobby Gangwer

 See also, "Wing side up" column written by Bobby Gangwer as it appeared in MARC Times Racing News after Dion's death.

  2005 MSA press release...

Supermodifieds Return to Kalamazoo: Race Dedicated to One of the Their Own

Kalamazoo Speedway will go back to its roots this Saturday night when the might supermodifieds return for their first visit in nearly a decade. The open wheeled machines are like no other in short track racing today, with big block Chevy motors, moveable wings and sleek designs with the motor shoved far to the left for high speed cornering.

 Supers as they are known weren’t always so radical. "Back in the late ‘50s guys here in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio began cutting their jalopy coupes up," says Lee A. Booze, president of the Midwest Supermodified Association, and auto racing historian. "At first they called them modified stock cars and super-modified stock cars. Eventually the name "supermodified" stuck. Kalamazoo Speedway was an important proving ground in those early days. Names like Sam Sessions, Art Bennett, John Logan, Nellie Ward and Gordon Johncock were top dogs at the track."

 Today’s supermodified drivers still exhibit the same spirit that created the class of racers almost fifty years ago. Supermodifieds are all homemade; they are not built by a company or business. "Most drivers in the Midwest Supermodified Association own and work on their own cars. Not only do these guys like to race and win, but they pride themselves on building a better mousetrap," says Booze.

"I think its fitting that we’re dedicating this weekend’s race to Dion Parish, he really represented what MSA is all about," Booze added. Parish was a shoe string racer that got bit by the supermodified bug. Although money was tight, he was dedicated to becoming a supermodified racer. Unfortunately Parish lost his life testing a new car at Kalamazoo in 2002.

"Dion was a man that lived by the motto ‘Never Give Up.’ He was always determined to follow his dream of racing supermodifieds," says Marc Times Racing News columnist Bob Gangwer, who was instrumental in naming the event for Parish.

"I believe it’s a motto befitting the entire organization. The men and the machines they build are a testament to the staying addiction of supermodified racing. In an era of cookie cutter cars and drivers, we hope to bring back some that history and nostalgia to tracks like Kalamazoo," Booze said finally. "In the process we like to shake the grandstands and make the fans’ hair stand on end too!"

Dion at speed

2002, This is the former Stickney Roadster that Gene Lee won Cavalcade with. Dion was wicked proud of it.

Dion was looking forward to competing in the final two MSA events of 2002 with his new car.

  Dion Parish links

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