Starting in his 88th Winston Cup point event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned ...
Starting in his 88th Winston Cup point event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500K this Sunday afternoon, November 5; shown live on TNN beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Although the #1 car suffered the normal dents and bangs that inevitably occur at Martinsville, Park will pilot the same car raced during the NAPA Autocare 500 and finished 11th. This will be the car's second appearance on a track, even though some bodywork was performed on the Chevrolet. It the "sister car" to that ran at Loudon and Richmond earlier this year, which will serve as the back-up car. During last year's event on the 1-mile track at Phoenix, Park started the 312-lap event in the 26th spot. He found himself running around the 15th position most of the afternoon and led one lap during green flag pit stops. Two incidents on pit road, one that involved Rusty Wallace, ultimately put Park one lap behind the leaders but he was able to finish a respectable 15th. Continuing to post career-best finishes on numerous tracks this season, Park took the Pennzoil Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish during the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. After starting in the 17th spot, Park quickly found his way into the top 10 and had moved into sixth by the 46th lap. After a series of cautions between laps 158 and 256, Park found his groove again and methodically moved from the 10th position with 38 laps to remaining to his final spot in sixth. He now has marked seven top-10 finishes in the last 11 races, since his career-first victory at Watkins Glen at August. While he sits 12th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, Park is less than one race position (2 points) from passing Mike Skinner in the 11th spot. With three races left, he also continues to gain on the 10th spot held by Ward Burton, moving to within 297 points. The Pennzoil crew posted the quickest time during the 76 Pit Crew Challenge held in Rockingham. Performing a pit stop in 17.907 seconds, the seven team members were 0.448 seconds faster than the winners but a loose lug nut on the right rear, which moved less than ¼ inch, added 3 seconds to their final time, relegating them to the 13th position.
"Racing at Phoenix can be pretty tricky," said Park, whose first event at Phoenix was during a truck race. "The turns in 1 and 2 are like Loudon but then you enter 3 and 4 and you've got all this room. It's always a fairly exciting race and I look forward to a good show."
"This is a race track with a view," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "It's a pretty neat deal to have the desert and the mountains right there. When you go to Phoenix, you get a completely different type of race fan and since they aren't accustomed to having us there, they seem appreciative of what we have to offer. I really like going there."