<%@ Language=JavaScript %> ..:: Maryland Int'l Raceway  -  Budds Creek, MD  ::..


Maryland Int'l Raceway  •  27861 Budds Creek Road  •  Mechanicsville, MD  20659

301-884-9833 (Office)  •  301-884-9878 (Fax)  •  info@mirdrag.com

 
  2013 MIR Legends Hall of Fame Inductee
  


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John Parlett

John Parlett’s contributions to Maryland International Raceway have been massive and are largely hiding in plain sight. Many remember John for the Parlett Brothers Frantic Four dragster. And of course, many know him for his highly successful racing electronics company, Computech Systems. But John’s most significant contributions to MIR are nothing less than the entirety of the “New MIR” we are enjoying today.

John’s impact on the creation of the redesigned Maryland International Raceway cannot be overstated. He cleared the way in the county for licenses, modified legislation, and advised on zoning changes. He collaborated with Royce on the design and then implemented the site plan for the new track, including the storm water management, the new tower, and the concession stands and restrooms. The amazing facility you see around you began as Royce Miller’s dream but was made a reality by the hard work, expertise, and connections of John Parlett.

John began to help MIR way back when Tod Mack and Larry Clayton owned the property. As one of the leading commercial real estate developers and construction managers in the county, John was able to help with thorny zoning issues encountered by facilities of this size. John deals with things on a daily basis that other business owners only need to encounter once in a lifetime. So having John in MIR’s corner has been invaluable. John Parlett knows the right people in the county and knows how to get things done. He was influential in creating an entirely new class of zoning requirements for Recreational Motorsports Facilities. These zoning changes ensure that MIR and other facilities in the county will be able to keep running for years to come without having to continually reapply for approval.

The list of John’s contributions to MIR boggles the mind. While earlier awardee Bob Maxey is credited with the amazing starting line concrete mix that provides MIR’s legendary bite, John and his team actually cut out and poured the starting line according to Bob’s specifications. John did almost all the layout design for the new MIR, and then brought in a civil engineer to record the designs for county review. He and Royce designed the master plan for the track, which includes many trick innovations not seen elsewhere.

These include amazing features like:

  • Staging lanes built on a grade to ensure the race cars are easy to push
     

  • A pea gravel sand trap that will not solidify and lose its stopping ability
     

  • A reengineered top end safety net cabled to Jersey barriers to allow better speed reduction
     

  • The amazing new concrete enclosed starting line
     

  • Special argon gas between the tower window panes to make the tower quieter
     

  • False walls in the tower to hide all the wires but to provide ready access when needed
     

  • An incredible concession stand and…
     

  • The finest restrooms in all of motorsports


Speaking of creature comforts, MIR’s ability to sell beer concessions is a direct result of John’s influence and expertise. Formerly, state law specified that you could not sell beer in an establishment if customers reasonably could bring their own beer into the facility. With the number of motor homes and coolers that enter MIR each weekend, this would be impossible to verify. John was instrumental in changing the state law for motorsports facilities to allow on-premises sales.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of John’s contributions to MIR is that he planned all of the upgrades in phases to allow continuous operation of the race track during the reconstruction! If you recall the temporary trailer in front of the starting line, that was all a part of it. Now that the dream is a reality, John often brings county officials to the track to witness the economic impact of MIR on the local economy.

Not many people can claim that they have made contributions to Maryland International Raceway in the past, in the present, AND into the future, but John Parlett can claim all that and more. His invaluable contributions and goodwill in the county ensure that MIR and other motorsports facilities will continue to be able to provide family entertainment for years to come. John Parlett is truly a Legend of Budds Creek.

 

Racing History

John began racing in the mid-1970s with his brothers in a 55 Chevy. The car ran in the 12-second zone and qualified for the Bracket Finals in York, Pennsylvania. John and brother Bobby then moved on to a 150-inch Clevie Dixon built front engine dragster with a small block Chevy. Their next car was an S&W built dragster purchased from Rick Auxier in 1981. That car also had a small block Chevy and ran Super Comp for the first year of that class in 1982. In fact, the Parlett Brothers finished number two in the Division 1 Super Comp points battle. They also participated in some IHRA racing, traveling as far as Bristol, Tennessee, and Blaney, South Carolina. In the late 1980s, John sold the car to Jerry Pritchett, who raced it successfully at MIR for years.


John and his brother Bobby sold parts at Maryland International Raceway before selling that business. The brothers then came back with a trick S&W dragster that featured Circus Paint from a Greg Ozubko design. John and Bobby raced the car with normal aspiration for a few years, but then mounted a 6-71 Mooneyham blower on top! They ran Super Eliminator and Top Dragster with that car. The team then got serious and built a 250-inch wheelbase dragster purpose built for the blown motor. The supercharged Chevy was consistently one of the quickest cars on the circuit, eventually hitting best times of 6.50 seconds at 204 mph. The Parlett Brothers won the inaugural Frantic Four points championship at MIR, going undefeated for the entire season! They continued to run the high tech dragster through 2000, racking up many more wins and a Best Engineered award at the 1998 IHRA Presidents Cup.
 


The Next Generation/Computech Systems

John left racing when he was voted onto the local school board, one of many boards and committees that benefit from John’s expertise. He then continued to concentrate on building his business, putting his children through college, and teaching his sons the ins and outs of high performance auto prep. Beginning with a 1980 Camaro in the mid-2000s, John taught his two younger sons how to build cars correctly with a high level of attention to detail. The work paid off because today, two of John's sons now run Computech Systems themselves. The business is right next door to John’s CMI Affiliated Companies, so he can check in on occasion. Like his race cars and his real estate/construction companies, Computech Systems is run with a high level of precision. The company controls all designs and drawings for every aspect of the devices, including the machined cases that house the high tech racing electronics. The facility contains everything needed for design, construction, testing, and shipping of their products. The amazing Computech enterprise warrants a separate story all its own! As for the next generation, John's son Kevin races an Infinity G 35 in road racing events that recently has been featured in magazines. The car is super trick (thanks in part to a visit to dad over several months) and looks to carry on the tradition of excellence for Parlett Racing.



Hot Rodding

One day in recent years, John saw a 1962 Ford Fairlane on the side of the road. For some reason, that car spoke to him and while he was not able to get it from the seller, John soon tracked down another Ford for reconstruction. After being a Chevy guy for all these years, the old Fords intrigued him. John now has four amazing Fords that all are built or being built to the same exacting standards he established for his drag racing cars, Computech Systems, and his real estate/construction work.



Charity and Fun Cruises

John attends a lot of car cruises these days and that has offered the opportunity for some great community outreach. He and Wade Mahaffey set up a 100-mile cruise for the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home that has raised $13,000 over two years and that provides a lot of fun for local hot rodders. One new and fun event John has been involved with is the Cars and Coffee cruises at Bert's Diner in Mechanicsville, Maryland. The events are on the first Saturday and the third Sunday of each month and are open to all.

And if the Hot Rod sitting on the roof of Bert’s Diner looks familiar to you, it’s because John designed Bert’s to accommodate the car on the roof just like he designed MIR’s Concession stand to accommodate Bunny Burkett’s Funny Car!
 

 

 

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