Notes: Ã˜ Starting in his 102nd Winston Cup event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned ...
Notes: Ø Starting in his 102nd Winston Cup event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 this Sunday afternoon, May 27; shown live on FOX beginning at 5:45 p.m. ET.
Ø It was two years ago that the young driver seemed well on his way to the team's first Winston Cup victory as he led part of the Coca-Cola 600 and had one of the dominant cars of the night. The win eluded him, however, after loose conditions sent the now 33-year-old spinning down the frontstretch -- ending his night early. Since that time, though, Park has put together a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes on the 1.5-mile track, posting his best last fall by crossing the finish line in the seventh spot.
Ø In last year's event, Park moved from his 18th starting position to 11th by the lap 16. Despite spinning on lap 79, Park continued his climb back toward the front since the Pennzoil Chevrolet didn't sustain any damage. At the halfway point of the longest race of the season, Park was posted in the ninth spot and, following the rain delay at lap 254, he continued his quest for another top-10 finish. At the end of the grueling 400-lap event, Park was one of 13 cars on the lead lap, crossing the line in the ninth spot, his then best effort at Charlotte.
Ø Pennzoil car chief Kevin "Bono" Manion wed longtime girlfriend Tracy Marciel over the Mother's Day Weekend on May 11, tying the knot in Huntersville, N.C. Kevin and Tracy reside in Mooresville and plan on honeymooning in Hawaii after the Winston Cup season.
Ø Gaston Shealy, machinist for the Pennzoil team at DEI, and wife, English, welcomed their first baby on May 15. Gabriel Brooke weighed 8 lbs. 10 oz. and was 21-1/2 inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing fine.
"I must admit that we were all a little disappointed in our finish last weekend during the Winston," said Park, who is tied with Tony Stewart for seventh in the Winston Cup points standings. "Think it will definitely help us out for this weekend though. We all sat down afterward and talked about what the car was doing and what it needed. Definitely used it as a learning experience. One thing I've learned though, is that these Pennzoil guys never give up. That is what gives me confidence in our performance for this weekend. I have total faith in Paul Andrews (crew chief) and Dave Charpentier (engineer). If anybody can figure it out, they can.
"These long races are challenging and really try on your patience. If one thing Dale Earnhardt taught me, it is that you have to be in the race at the end in order to win. That is what we are going to strive for this weekend. Being patient and smart will hopefully put us in a position to be there to win at the end."
"We are out for vengeance following our performance last week during the Winston. We took a newer style car to that race and we just weren't happy with the type of set-up that the car dictated. For the Coca-Cola 600, we are taking more of our normal style car. It's actually the car that ran second at during the Texas race. We'll be fine although there's a new rule change in effect.
"It's a big challenge to find the right setup when you race both during the day and night like we do here at Charlotte. Really wish we had some practice time at night but we'll just make the car adjustable for the night run. The cooler weather makes the car faster which will sometimes loosen the car up but that sometimes gets balanced out with more rubber on the track, which tightens up the car. We'll start the race off good and then adjust."