Silence fell at the Pocono International Raceway as a first lap incident involving DEI teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr and Steve Park halted the racing action. During the first Lap of the Pennsylvania 500 Rusty Wallace and Steve Park got together ...
Silence fell at the Pocono International Raceway as a first lap incident involving DEI teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr and Steve Park halted the racing action.
During the first Lap of the Pennsylvania 500 Rusty Wallace and Steve Park got together exiting turn one, collecting Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Wallace continued, but Jr and Park entered the slippery infield on the long pond straight. Parks Chevrolet turned sideways, hitting the guardrail. The impact forced Parks car to barrel roll in a horrific crash similar to Davey Allison's 1992 crash at the speedway.
" I don't know what happened, someone got in the back and drilled me, and then all hell broke loose behind me", noted Wallace, who had to take his Ford to the garage for repairs.
In the moments following the crash Dale Earnhardt Jr ran from his damage car to assist safety working frantically trying to remove Park from the carcass of his car.
"Steve and Rusty got together, I guess he thought he was clear, and then I drove him into the guardrail, I was all in that slippery stuff and I just could not get control, noted Earnhardt.
Moments passed like hours, thoughts raced to Park and injuries suffered at Darlington in fall of 2001.
Miraculously, Park with assistance walked from the accident, greeted by his teammate.
Both drivers were taken to and released from the infield care center.
"I just want to let my Mom and Dad know I'm ok, said Park. Park thanked Safety workers for extracting him from the car. "I tried not to panic, I know not to release the belts, but you try not to have panic set in. I was trapped due to the safety devices and the window openings. It was great to see Dale Jr when I got out of the car."
NASCAR rules require that all competitors wear an approved head and neck device while competing in NASCAR sanctioned events.
Damage to the guardrail required NASCAR to red flag the event to enact repairs.