Sprint Cup crew chief Todd Parrott, shown in 2006, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating its substance abuse policy. / Justin Kase Conder, USA TODAY Sports
A violation of NASCAR's substance abuse policy has cost crew chief Todd Parrott his job.
Parrott, who led Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 car and driver Aric Almirola for the last year, was released from the organization after he failed a NASCAR drug test and was suspended indefinitely.
Car chief Greg Ebert was elevated to interim crew chief beginning with this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway.
"(The dismissal) was just automatic," Richard Petty told reporters Tuesday afternoon during an appearance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "When he done what he did, he did his own thing. All we've done is said, 'This is the way it's got to be.'"
Petty said he was "really shocked" when Parrott failed a drug test and said he never saw the crew chief acting suspiciously. But because drivers and crew members put their lives on the line every weekend, Petty said, the team took a zero-tolerance approach to Parrott's offense.
"One hundred percent ain't good enough, so if anyone breaks the rule, there ain't no room in our organization for that," Petty said.
Parrott is one of the highest-profile offenders of NASCAR's four-year-old testing policy, with drivers Jeremy Mayfield and AJ Allmendinger among the others.
A former crew chief for Dale Jarrett, Parrott won the 1999 Cup championship along with two Daytona 500s and two Brickyard 400s.
"It's going to be tough, but things change all the time and you have to be willing to adapt and carry on," Almirola said of losing his crew chief. "That's what we're going to do. ... Our race team is not defined by one person."
Almirola said he had spoken to Parrott and expressed support despite what he said was Parrott's error in judgment.
"I just want him to get better and get back on track," Almirola said. "I don't know what else to say to the guy, but this isn't a character flaw or anything. He's still a good person and he's still a good crew chief, but he made a mistake. And now he's got to bounce back from it."
Ebert, who has been Almirola's car chief for the past two years, spent five seasons as car chief for Matt Kenseth at Roush Fenway Racing. The driver said Ebert's promotion was a natural next step.
"I think (the transition) is going to be pretty seamless," Almirola said. "Greg has been around the car a lot and he's been up to speed with a lot of our setup stuff that has evolved through the year. Besides the engineers, he's the one guy who is most hands-on with all the stuff that is going in the cars.
"I think Greg is going to do a great job. He deserves the opportunity."
Follow Jeff Gluck on Twitter @jeff_gluck
Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Petty releases crew chief Todd Parrott after drug violation