NASCAR

Almirola crew chief suspended by NASCAR

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP)

NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Todd Parrott, the crew chief for Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola, for violating its substance-abuse policy.

NASCAR announced its decision Thursday against Parrott, who works for Richard Petty Motorsports. The substance was not identified.

''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 Sammy Johns, RPM's vice president of operations and competition. ''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.''

Johns will handle crew chief duties for the No. 43 Ford this weekend at Talladega and until further notice.

Parrott was the longtime crew chief for Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett when Jarrett was at Robert Yates Racing. He guided him to two Daytona 500 victories, in 1996 and 2000, and wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1996 and 1999.

The duo also paired to win the 1999 Cup championship. Parrott also developed many of NASCAR's future crew chiefs, including Mike Ford, Jimmy Elledge and younger brother, Brad.

The No. 43 car at RPM has never participated in any NASCAR programs affiliated with alcohol, dating back to seven-time champion Richard Petty's days as a driver. Petty's mother made the request, since she was against alcohol and banned substances.

As a result, the car doesn't participate in beer-sponsored contingency programs and didn't run in the exhibition opening race of Daytona Speedweeks when it was sponsored by Budweiser. The No. 43 also does not participate in the Coors Lite pole award program in NASCAR.

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