Aric Almirola will go to Talladega and the remainder of the season without his veteran crew chief. On Thursday afternoon, NASCAR announced that Todd Parrott, who has been crew chief for Almirola his two years at Richard Petty Motorsports, was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating their substance abuse policy.
Parrott most notably was crew chief for former driver and current ESPN broadcaster Dale Jarrett during his time at Robert Yates Racing, leading him to the 1999 championship and also three Daytona 500 victories.
Current Vice President of Operations and Competition, Sammy Johns, will take over interim crew chief duties for the No. 43 team beginning at Talladega.
"We have an expectation of all RPM employees to conduct themselves at the highest level of professionalism and within the competitive confines as set forth by NASCAR," said Johns. "We are very disappointed that one of our employees did not meet our expectations and we completely support NASCAR, their policies and final decisions when it comes to the substance abuse policy."
It is unclear at this time as to when Parrott failed the random test, or what the substance was that caused the positive result.
On Tuesday, Parrott was released from Richard Petty Motorsports.
Moving forward, car chief Greg Ebert will serve as interim crew chief on the No. 43 Ford beginning this upcoming weekend at Martinsville.
"We are confident in Greg's leadership abilities and we will give him the resources he needs to be successful," said RPM's Vice President of Operations and Competition Sammy Johns. "He is very familiar with our race program and gives us a more seamless transition. More importantly, he gives Aric the best opportunity to finish the season strong."
Johns filled in as crew chief last weekend at Talladega.
Parrott will enter NASCAR's Road to Recovery Program in the hopes to be reinstated at a later time. Co-owner Richard Petty sited that there was no real other choice in relieving Parrott of his duties.
"Circumstances beyond our control," Petty said. "So it was just an automatic. When he did what he did, he'd done his own thing. All we did was say, this is the way it's got to be.
"It's definitely zero tolerance. These guys (in the car) are putting their lives on the line. These guys on pit road, they're putting their life on the line. A hundred percent isn’t good enough. So if anybody sort of breaks the rule, there's no room in our organization for that."
This weekend, Aric Almirola will run his second race without Parrott, and his second straight with a different crew chief. He will be driving a special-edition No. 41 tribute car to 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, and brother to "The King," Maurice Petty.