Monte Carlo Race Darlington II race notes

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Update: Park is expected to be released from the hospital this afternoon, but will not start the Mountain Dew Southern 500. In his place, Kenny Wallace will sit behind the wheel of the No. 1...

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Update:

Park is expected to be released from the hospital this afternoon, but will not start the Mountain Dew Southern 500. In his place, Kenny Wallace will sit behind the wheel of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet. Wallace drove the Monte Carlo in Saturday's final practice session and posted the 27th fastest time.

During the accident that occurred in the Busch event Saturday, Park suffered no broken bones. An early morning CT "Cat" scan on Sunday was negative.

For clarification: Park was wearing the Hutchens Device while driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet in the Busch race. He wears the HANS when driving the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet in the Winston Cup Series.

Kenny Wallace, filling in for Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo (sidelined with radiator problems): "The car had been running really hot - about 270 degrees - for about the last 10 laps. It's a shame. We were running good."

Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I hate it for the whole Oakwood Homes team. They worked real hard today. We had a real good car today. We came in on that last stop and we had a bad pit stop and it put us back. Something happened to Ron Hornaday and he hit the wall. I was already committed to the high line. Terry Labonte or somebody came in and hit the left front. There's nothing you can do. We put ourselves in that position. So, basically we got what we deserved today."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 2nd): "Well, that wasn't the way I wanted to do it. That was kind of ugly. When it comes down to the caution at the end, you've got to do what can. Bobby (Labonte) might not be happy with me, and deservingly so. I passed him there on that last lap. I hit the wall. I gave this race up today. I think we had the car capable of doing it. I came off of turn 2 when we were leading there in front of Bobby (Labonte) and I just hit the wall. The car started pushing from right there on. It was everything I could do to hold on to it. I knew I was going to have to fight hard for every position there at the end. I gave (Ricky) Rudd the room and we bumped and banged a little bit. But that's just good hard racing when you come down to 10 (laps) to go at Darlington. We were banging and it was wild out there. I'm real proud of these guys on the Dupont Chevrolet. They put a great effort today. They put a heck of a racecar out there and had great pit stops. We came home second."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo
On the issue with Stacy Compton: "Compton, I felt, he kind of came down on us. Stricklin - I just pushed up into the side of him. Spinning into (Hut) Stricklin was my fault, but I felt like Stacy got up underneath in the corner. But I don't feel like I was at fault there."

What do you think of these late-race red-flag calls? "It wasn't a big enough wreck to red flag the race. Everybody knows it and everybody saw it. They made a big deal about it and throwed a bunch of Speedy Dry down. And that's ridiculous. They had plenty of time to get that racetrack cleaned up and have a good three or four lap dash. I don't understand."

You don't usually get this frustrated, do you? "Well, it was an important decision that these people were making. We ran 500 miles. I can see it if it was 20 or 50 or 100-lap feature or something like that. But this was a 500-mile race. My car was sitting there and I could smell the water burning out of the overflow."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo (top Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate - finished 8th) "We just dodged the last wreck and finished pretty much where we should have. It was an up and down day. We ran in the top five or six pretty much all day. And then we thought we had a right rear tire going down and we came in and changed tires and got a couple laps down. I got fortunate and made those up.

"There at the end, everybody was trying to get everything they could out of whatever they had and we were on the fortunate side this weekend. But that's about where we would have finished if I wouldn't have screwed up."

What's your opinion of NASCAR's red flag call? "I think its consistent and that's all we can ask for is consistency. They've been red-flagging the races pretty much every time they come toward the end of a race. Consistency is what makes me happiest, and I think they're holding to it."

Should there be a rule regarding red-flag calls? "That's kind of out of my league. I like the rule they follow in the Craftsman Truck Series: green, white, checkered finish. But there's a lot more that works into the Winston Cup races."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Steve Park , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr.