Hitting a milestone this weekend, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned ...
Hitting a milestone this weekend, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo starts in his 90th Winston Cup event as the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NAPA 500 this Sunday afternoon, November 19; shown live on ESPN beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST. Just eight months ago in Georgia, Park entered the fourth race of the season with one top-10 finish already under his belt. After leaving Atlanta, the 33-year-old driver had posted his first career top-five finish when he took the checkered flag in the fourth position during the Cracker Barrel 500. It would be the first of six Park has marked so far in this stellar season. In his best season yet, Park has now surpassed $2 million in prize winnings after earning $1.6 million in 1999. Posting nine top-10 finishes in the last 13 events, Park hopes to continue his streak heading into Atlanta. Qualifying on the outside front row last year, the New York native performs well on the 1.54-mile quad oval and believes he can post his second career victory this weekend. Earning his second career Bud Pole Award, Park led for the first nine laps before settling into a rhythm during the Pennzoil 400 this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Never falling out of the top 10 throughout the afternoon, Park fought hard to keep race winner Tony Stewart behind him but found the effort fruitless as the #20 was just too strong. A bad-timed caution saw Park going one lap down late in the race and left him as one of two cars one lap behind the leaders as everyone else was passed more than once by Stewart. At the end of the final caution with 40 laps remaining, Park wasn't able to pass Gordon for the seventh position and completed the day in the eighth position. He also gained valuable points in the championship standings as the 10th-place competitor, Ward Burton, crashed early in the race and had his advantage cut in half. With one race remaining in the Winston Cup schedule, Park heads to Atlanta 153 points from the 10th spot.
Steve Park: "For some reason, I just seem to run really well in Atlanta," said Park. "I enjoy racing on the higher banks with lots of speed and, when the car handles well, you can just go. There are two racing grooves at Atlanta and that gives us the opportunity to race side by side and try different lines to get the optimum performance out of the set up. I have complete confidence in Paul Andrews and the Pennzoil team to put together a great car. We've had such great success at Atlanta that this could be another great weekend for us."
"Aero tracks seem to be our forte," said crew chief Paul Andrews, who brings the same Monte Carlo to Atlanta that was raced at the second events at Michigan and Charlotte. "Atlanta will provide us with another good opportunity to qualify and finish in the top five and could possibly go for the win.
"I'm kind of sad that the season is ending," continued Andrews. "They could just give us a weekend off and I'd be happy. I really enjoy racing. My wife thinks I'm crazy sometimes because even on our down time, I'm headed to Concord to watch racing or help my sons with their racing efforts. It's never ending for me and I love it."
<pre> Steve Park Atlanta Motor Speedway Performance Record Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 Cracker Barrel 500 (WC) 3 4 325/325 Running $60,250 1999 Cracker Barrel 500 (WC) 32 32 317/325 Running $30,025 NAPA 500 (WC) 2 12 325/325 Running 56,775 1998 Primestar 500 (WC) DNS NAPA 500 17 17 221/221 Running 33,455 1997 NAPA 500 (WC) 25 15 322/325 Running 25,650 Stihl 300 (Busch) 14 42 72/200 Running 4,105