Steve Park ...
#1 Pennzoil Chevrolet
Bristol Motor Speedway
Ø Posting his fourth top-10 finish in the past five races, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo begins his quest for another great finish as he starts in his 114th Winston Cup race this weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The Sharpie 500 is scheduled to start this Saturday evening, August 25; shown live on TNT beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
Ø Having recent success on the half-mile track, Park completed the 2001 spring event in the ninth spot to mark his third consecutive top-10 finish at Bristol. Park started that event in the 17th spot and moved up slightly prior to the first pit stop. Park took over the lead at lap 292 after the Pennzoil team put him in the front with a great pit stop. Maintaining the top spot until a caution flag at lap 372, Park saw several teams deciding to stay out or taking on two tires while he brought the Pennzoil car into pit road for a four-tire pit stop. This race proved to be one of track position with passing difficult and, although he was able to gain some ground on the leaders, Park finished the 3-hour race in the ninth position.
Ø Last fall at Bristol, Park posted one of his best qualifying efforts of the season and started the Saturday night race in the second row behind polesitter Rusty Wallace. In a race that is notorious for its action, Park found himself spinning in turn 2 after an accidental tap by Mark Martin. Avoiding contact with the wall, Park continued the race after losing just several positions. Working hard throughout the event, he avoided all the other incidents that inevitably would happen as there were 13 cautions for a total of 85 laps. By crossing the line in the fifth spot, Park marked his career-best finish on a short track.
Ø Celebrating his 34th birthday on Thursday of this week, Park enjoyed success during the Michigan run on Sunday. Posting the 27th fastest time in qualifying, he wasn't content staying in the back of the field and quickly surged to the front -- putting the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet in the 10th position by the 17th circuit. Moving into the eighth spot by the 36th lap, Park then pitted for four tires and minor adjustments and resumed, following all green-flag stops, in the same position. Stopping again for service on lap 88, Park cycled back into the top 10 before the caution flag fell for rain on lap 96. Swapping spots between several drivers, the New York native took the checkered flag in the ninth position as rain ended the race after 162 laps of the scheduled 200-lap event.
"Saturday night racing is in my blood," said Park, who remains 11th in the points standings. "Something about being under the lights, the fans, the large crowd -- it's amazing. With my racing roots stemming from that type of racing, it's always fun to get into a car and compete at night, especially on the shorter tracks.
"Obviously, we are really going to try and start up front again," said Park, who will also run in the Busch race this weekend at Bristol. "I have a special place in my heart for Bristol since earning my first Bud pole there last spring. We've proven that this Pennzoil team can run in the top and that's just what we plan to do this weekend."
"We are taking the same car we raced at Chicago and Las Vegas this year," commented crew chief Paul Andrews. "Some people take cars they don't like to Bristol since due to the large amount contact during the race, not me though, I take a car I really like. You can always repair the bangs and dents. The main issue is ground clearance so you just have to make a couple of adjustments. The car was really fast during those other races, and believe it or not, Bristol is a quick track and there's quite a bit of carry over from the larger tracks."