ATLANTA (Jan 19, 2001) - In big and exciting news, MTI Racing announced here today veteran NASCAR driver Steve Park, driver of the Winston Cup Dale Earnhardt No.01 PENNZOIL Chevrolet Monte Carlo and winner of the 2000 Watkins Glen, will be driving the MTI No.98 C5 Chevrolet Corvette in the 2-hour Motorola Cup season opener to be held at Daytona International Speedway on Friday Feb. 2 during the Rolex 24 Hour week.
This announcement means a large part of the Earnhardt Racing Team has made the move to C5 Corvettes for the Rolex 24 and Motorola Cup races. Dale and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving the No.03 GM Factory Racing C5-R Corvette in the Grand American Rolex 24 Hour race, and now Park will be driving the No.98 production-based C5 Corvette in the season opener 2-hour Motorola Cup.
Cox, MTI Racing owner, normally drives the No.98 and competes in the Speedvision World Challenge GT and Motorola Cup series. For this year's Daytona, he got together with nationally known Corvette Super Tuner Chuck Mallett of Mallett Cars, ltd. Berea, OH. and built a new special 2001 Z06 C5 Corvette. He said, "I'm a big believer in the Motorola Cup series. Having people the quality of Mallett help me prepare this car and then a terrific driver the quality of Steve Park agree to drive gives the team a platform to improve the publicity of the team, Motorola Cup, and the Daytona Race. I am thrilled to be able to make this announcement."
The impact of the Mallett work has immediately shown results too. During the Daytona test session held earlier in January, the Cox/Park team set the Motorola Cup one-lap record with the first under 2-minute lap in the Motorola Cup series history.
Steve Park has driven for the Earnhardt Team since 1997, first in the Busch series and now in the Winston Cup, and says he is very exciting to drive the MTI Racing Z06 Corvette on the Daytona tracks. "This is great for me. I'm a Corvette enthusiast too. I bought a pewter 2001 Z06 Corvette this year, now I get the opportunity to race one on the Daytona track. Working with the MTI Racing guys has been terrific. Getting to test with them; work on the Vette with them; crawl under the hood; has all been exciting and really made me feel like part of team. I'm very confident that we'll have a respectable performance at Daytona."
Cox and Park will alternate the driving duties during this 2-hour race, as required by the series rules.
- Douglas K. Johnson