Monte Carlo 400 Advance Friday, September 07, 2001 Richmond International Raceway Comments by Kenny Wallace on the announcement that DEI has named him relief driver for Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo, for an indefinite period...
Monte Carlo 400 Advance
Friday, September 07, 2001
Richmond International Raceway
Comments by Kenny Wallace on the announcement that DEI has named him relief driver for Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo, for an indefinite period of time while Park recovers:
"I think it all goes back to what I said at Darlington. I definitely don't want to be in this racecar in this situation. Steve Park is a great racecar driver and has just come off three or four top tens in a row. DEI is an incredible racing organization. I'm going to keep this car up front and when Steve comes back, he's not going to miss a beat. This is still all about Steve Park. I've always had opportunities in my Winston Cup career, but never anything like this. This is what I call an 'upfront' car. And this is big. Kenny Schrader helped me to get over getting in a car with somebody being hurt. I told him it really made me feel weird to getting in a car with somebody being hurt. And he said, 'Kenny, somebody's going to get in that racecar. You deserve it.' So I want to thank Kenny Schrader for helping me.
"Obviously Ty Norris has just been awesome to work with. I think he learned a lot from Dale Earnhardt. Little E has been awesome. Michael Waltrip has been awesome. We're going to make the best out of this for Steve. It's still all about Steve Park. I want to make sure Steve Park's family understands that I'm thinking about Steve through this whole thing. I'm not going to go out there and ham it up in his car. I'm going to go out there and put it up front, put it in Victory Lane, and it's all going to be for him."
On the schedule
"I haven't really looked too much at the schedule. Ty Norris has been working real hard with Dr. Petty. They finally found out what they wanted to find out today. The only conflict there is that really won't be a conflict - and Steve might be back at this time - but we're looking at the Martinsville / Memphis situation. But I can't think of a place that this car runs poorly at. It might mean missing a little bit of practice in the Winston Cup car. George deBidart, my Busch car owner, is the best. He and Ty have worked closely on this. I'm sure we'll work out any conflicts."
Have you talked to Steve Park?
"I talked to Steve Sunday night on my way home. He was tired. I told him I was thinking about him and he was totally cool. The whole time I was thinking about Steve I was thinking about myself in '91, when I lost the Busch championship to Bobby Labonte (due to) positional vertigo. I can't tell how bad I feel for him because I know a head injury - bruising of the brain - is just not fun."
How long were you out with that?
"Realistically, I was racing but I was out about six months. It knocked the stuff out of me. Rusty (Wallace) had to drive the car at TEAM MONTE CARLO Contact: Nancy Wager Monte Carlo 400 Advance GM Racing Communications Friday, September 07, 2001 firstname.lastname@example.org Richmond International Raceway Page 4 Rockingham and we lost the championship to Bobby by 30 points or something like that. So I know what Steve's feeling like right now."
Did Steve encourage you?
"That's the thing about Steve. There's times when people get in your cars and you can be a little resentful. But I don't think Steve's going to feel like that at all. He didn't say much to me. He was pretty tired. It was Sunday night. We didn't talk much. Since then, he's been doing a lot of testing. I tried calling his mother, Dotty, and she's been with her son."
Can you win this race tomorrow night?
"I better be able to win this race or I shouldn't be able to be in that racecar. I better have the ability. I'm going to do it."
-Team Monte Carlo