Notes: * As the 2001 Winston Cup season begins, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned ...
* As the 2001 Winston Cup season begins, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo starts in his 91st Winston Cup event as the series heads to Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 this Sunday afternoon, February 18; shown live on FOX beginning at 1 p.m. EST.
* Starting in his fourth Daytona 500, Park plans to turn around his performance on the superspeedways by getting the Pennzoil Chevrolet to the finish line in a respectable position. His best outing on the 2.5-mile track occurred in the 2000 with a 31st-place finish, earning nearly $100,000 for his efforts.
* Finishing 22nd in the Gatorade Twin 125s qualifying race in 2000, Park relied on his qualifying speed to get the Pennzoil team into the Daytona 500. Starting in the 36th position, Park had moved into the mid 20s before he began experiencing overheating problems. Although the team was able to circulate cold water into the radiator, Park found it difficult to run in the “dirty air” of the draft. The overheating began even more of a challenge around lap 150 of the 200 lap race, bringing Park into the pits numerous times. Falling three laps behind the leaders, Park finished the event in the 31st position.
* Coming off a solid season in 2000, Park completed nearly 98 percent of all the laps and earned just more than $2 million. With his starting positions almost matching his outcomes last year, Park crossed the finish line in the yellow Pennzoil Chevrolet an average spot of a little more than 16th while beginning those races in a starting position also just more than 16th.
“With the great test in Daytona, this Pennzoil team is real excited about our chances during the 500,” said Park, who finished 2000 11th in the points standings. “Although we’ve struggled in the past at restrictor-plate races, I’m pretty confident we can turn that around and put the Pennzoil Chevrolet in a position to win the big one.”
“As a racer, this is one of the races you focus on the most but then you have all winter long to think about it,” added Park. “The 500 is a race that everyone remembers who won – even years down there road. I’d surely like to make it my second career victory. With two teammates this year, we may just get the drafting help to move us to the front.”
“We have been working real hard back at the shop to prepare for Daytona,” said crew chief Paul Andrews, who brings the same Monte Carlo to Daytona that was raced at the second event at Talladega last year. “The weather in Daytona is unpredictable and does provide us some challenges when it comes to setting up the springs and helping the car aerodynamically.
“I’m just ready to get the season started,” continued Andrews. “I enjoy racing – like everything about it and hate when the season ends. We didn’t make any changes to the Pennzoil team this season, so hopefully we can start off right where we left.”