BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Worried last week by the roller coaster ride this season, Pennzoil driver Steve Park was put to ease this weekend as he finished the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the ninth position, his fourth top-10 finish in the...
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Worried last week by the roller coaster ride this season, Pennzoil driver Steve Park was put to ease this weekend as he finished the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the ninth position, his fourth top-10 finish in the six Winston Cup races held this season.
Working his way from the 17th starting position, Park moved the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet up slightly to 15th just before the first pit stop on lap 79. Getting blocked into the pit box, he lost several positions upon returning to the track and took the green flag in the 22nd spot. The Pennzoil pit crew, dubbed the "Houston Oilers" by Park last weekend, made up for the slow start by earning Park five positions following the next stop at lap 149. Park continued his mission toward the front of the pack and took over the lead from Jeff Gordon at lap 292. He held onto the point until a caution was thrown due to debris at lap 337, costing him the lead for the second consecutive week.
"When the spotter told me the caution came out because of debris, I asked 'where?'," said Park, who remains fifth in the Winston Cup points standings, 113 from the top spot. "I never saw anything on the track but I guess NASCAR did. I couldn't believe it happened again."
In a race where track position proved to be everything, Park found himself behind again when others either decided not to pit or take on only two tires as the Pennzoil Monte Carlo stopped for four tires following another caution at lap 372. Those drivers where able to stay up front, while Park was left in the 15th position -- fighting for every spot.
"It was really hard to get around traffic, which is typical at Bristol," continued Park, who led for a total of 46 laps. "You had some lapped cars that just wouldn't give you anything. It was hard to pass anybody. The Pennzoil car got real tight toward the end -- not sure if it was the car or the track but it was getting hard to turn."
With Elliott Sadler earning his first Winston Cup career victory, John Andretti, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon and Ward Burton rounded out the top five.