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Athlete’s Voices: Dina Parise Episode 11, You’ve Come a Long Way, Ladies!

by Guest | Posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2014

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If you have been paying attention to earlier blogs, you have been reading the term ‘Door Slammer.’ A Pro Mod is referred to as a Door Slammer because it is a powerful racecar with doors, and the driver sits in the driver’s seat as in a traditional street car. They are replicas of traditional production bodies, for example, my 3,000HP Dina Parise Racing Cadillac CTSV (to debut soon). I want you all to understand our sport of Pro Mod Drag Racing and get to enjoy it the way it is meant to be enjoyed! Relatable enough to your everyday car, yet powerful enough to lift you (the spectator) out of your seat!

The very early days of NASCAR (1949) had names such as Louise Smith and Ethel Mobley. In 1965, Shirley Muldowney was the first woman licensed by NHRA to drive a gasoline-burning Gas dragster, capable of speeds over 150 MPH in the Quarter mile. In 1977, Janet Guthrie was the first woman to earn a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500(where she was Top Rookie). So, you see what I am getting at. Ladies have been making their mark in the Motorsports industry for decades.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Carolyn Melendy. She is considered the ‘first lady’ of Pro Mod (Door Slammers, if you will). Her entrance into the Pro Mod world was in the 90’s. At the time, yes it was male-dominated. She stated that no one wanted to line up next to her to race. No one. The issue to them was, they felt she did not have the ‘skill’ to drive a Pro Mod. Finally, Bill Kuhlmann (a pioneer in the Pro Mod movement) decided to line up next to her thinking he would have her by many car lengths. The conclusion was that he was sadly mistaken. Although Carolyn did not win the race, she was right with him all the way! It was there that she began to legitimize herself in the Pro Mod world and opened the door for women like me. I’m thankful for that. And on a side note, I would like to mention Annette Summer and Carol Long, two ladies in Pro Mod that I also feel may not get the recognition they deserve. Or even Bunny Burkett (IHRA Funny Car Driver and World Champion) for that matter. Ladies much like me that work hard at their ‘craft’ without the accolades. True racers. And at the heart of it, that is what we are: racers, drivers competitors.

Being a ‘woman in motorsports’ is a bit of a phenomenon. I don’t mean that the way you think I do, either. We ladies tend to stick together. We are uniquely supportive of each other, yet we are as competitive as they come. Our concentration levels are second to none. We celebrate the fact that we are women because that is what women do. Here is where the phenomenon ends (in my eyes anyway). When it comes to racing, the actual sport and art of racing, we are drivers. That’s it. The cars, the track, the timers and the finish line do not know we are women, nor that the competitors may be men. We are all drivers. Amazingly, every once in a blue moon, I will run into the quintessential Neanderthal with scabs on his knuckles from apparently not having completed the evolutionary process. He is the guy that thinks women should be seen (preferably scantily clad) and not heard. He is also the guy that thinks we, as women, should be in the kitchen making a sandwich, rather than doing what we do. As I said, the occurrence, although rare, does happen. I personally love dealing with ‘this’ type and I must admit, being from New York tends to give me the ‘upper hand’ as far as comebacks! In this day and age, unless you are living under a rock, it’s time to realize; a driver is a driver and again, the car has no idea if we are male or female.

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Now, let’s get back to the phenomenon theory and celebrating the fact that we are women. I am very proud of the fact that in my life I had the honor to skate for one of the most prestigious ice shows to tour North America for over 50 years, The Ice Capades. Being a ‘Showgirl’ is an image that has been associated with me for as long as I can remember. My Dina Parise Racing fans, friends and fellow racers have been making the association for many years, as well. Therefore, I would like to present to you the NEW Dina Parise Racing logo, where style and beauty meets competitiveness and power! I hope it lets all of the ladies out there know, they can be whatever they want to be! Don’t dream it, be it! I have a saying, “Remember, you only get one ticket in this life; I’m using mine until it expires!”

In my next blog, I will be writing about the long awaited debut of the Cadillac CTSV Pro Mod! So, stay tuned!

People always ask how our DPR team can get out there to do what we do. Our Marketing Partners are the key to DPR’s success! This team works hard to keep our Advertisers happy! Check out the Advertisers and go ahead and try their products and services! DPR uses them all! Thank you to NGK, LAT Racing Oils, CRC Industries, Bell Helmets, DJ Safety, Stainless Works, Speedwire Systems, USA Auto Supply, Matheis Race Cars Inc., Hoosier Racing Tire and Coast 2 Coast Cuisine TV for their support throughout the season and beyond! Visit here: http://dinapariseracing.com/marketing-partners for all their websites and details! Contact DPR to become a Marketing Partner as well! Let DPR work for you!

Get Social: Be sure to join me and my DPR team on all our Social Media! Our Website will show you the way! So please visit http://dinapariseracing.com/ to learn more about the DPR team! Then join the team on: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget Bella the Wonder Pug too https://twitter.com/ProModBella !

Thank for reading!

See you at the races!

Dina Parise~DPR

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