Dina Parise is a forty-year-old married woman, former figure skater, hairdresser and drag racer. She has always had an interest in racing, Formula 1, NASCAR, you name it. Oddly enough, she never watched drag racing until she met her husband Andrew ten years ago.
After watching him race, she decided to strap in and give it a try for herself. She went to Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School and got her NHRA License. Now Dina bracket races the Camaro that she and her husband built together.
Along with racing cars, Dina also raises donations to help fund research into the cause, treatment, and cure of multiple sclerosis. At each track, she raises donations and gives people making donations a band of hope to show their support.
Q: How did you get into drag racing?
A: I always had an interest in motor sports. My husband has been drag racing for years. I have been crewing for him for the last few years. I finally decided that crewing was not enough. Being a competitive person, I think that got the best of me! As a former skater for the “Ice Capades,” I also believe that I was looking for the next big challenge in my life. With Andrew’s full support, I went to Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School (at the age of thirty-nine) and got my NHRA license. By the way, I highly recommend his school. Can’t say enough about Frank and his staff.
Q: Tell us a little bit about what you race.
A: I now bracket race the car Andrew had been racing for the last few years. We built this car together from the ground up. Our car is a beautiful 1967 Chevy Camaro with a Blown 540 ci motor, 1000 horse power. A 1071 BDS Blower. 1150 Holley Dominator carburetors and a power glide transmission. A Ford Custom nine-inch rear end. It runs on 114 octane fuel. It is all original steel except for the hood. So, the body is in its original state. We even kept the vinyl top! It is street legal, but we never drive it on the street.
Q: Was your husband, Andrew, an integral reason of why you started racing?
A: I am often asked if my husband is the reason why I began racing. Well, yes and no. He opened my eyes to the world of drag racing. I had only ever watched NASCAR, Formula 1, that type of racing. I never had a desire to race a car that I had to sit in for that long! Once I saw, heard, and felt the rush of a drag race, I was hooked! I don’t think Andrew ever thought I wanted to drive, but when I showed an interest, he became my biggest supporter and fan! He turned over his “ride” to me this year, even though his car was not yet completed. So, I raced all season, and he did not.
Q: What is the Racing for a Cure campaign?
A: We began “Racing for a Cure” in 2005. For one thing, we are VERY fortunate to be able to do what we do. We love to race. We also felt the need to give back. We have a friend that was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004. In 2005, we created “Racing for a Cure” as a fundraising tool to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City Chapter. From then on, it became a crusade to do what we can to raise awareness as well as donations to help fund research into the cause, treatment, and cure of MS. We are very passionate about what we do. We collect donations at each track we attend, or at any event we attend. 100 percent of what we collect is designated toward MS research a local programs and services. We also sell t-shirts, and a portion of the proceeds goes to MS as well.
Q: What is the best way for people to get involved with racing for a cure?
A: Anyone who would like to make a donation on our behalf can get information by logging on to our website: www.racingforacure.net or www.tweakedyaracing.com .Click on the Racing for a Cure tab. Check out our website next season. Join us at an event.
Q: What’s on tap for your racing career in 2008?
A: For my racing career in 2008, I have many things going on. For one, we are “tweaking” the Camaro over the winter to increase speed, and decrease ET. I need to work on my reaction times, and we will be testing in March. I am looking forward to being competitive this year. Bracket racing is tough. Consistency is key. I am new at this, so I have quite a bit of work ahead of me. Look out boys, here I come! We will also be running my husband Andrew’s six-second pro mod as well. We will be testing it in March. He needs to re-license for the faster car. So, we have a lot on our plate for this year. Our biggest issue is the fact that we do not have a sponsor. We have been shopping around for sponsors. We do think we are an asset being a husband and wife team; we have a lot to offer.
By Linda Przygodski