Park pre Talladega notes

Starting in his 86th Winston Cup points event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned ...

Starting in his 86th Winston Cup points event, Steve Park in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo heads to the superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., for the Winston 500 this Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.

For the first time, Steve Park and the Pennzoil team will be participating in the "No Bull 5" program by virtue of finishing fourth during the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond in September. Although not historically strong on the superspeedways, the Pennzoil crew has done extensive testing in the wind tunnel on a new body that they hope will respond well to the new rule changes NASCAR implemented as they go for the $1million bonus offered by Winston.

During the team's last outing at Talladega, Park took the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet to the front from his 41st starting position following a great first pit stop and a strong car. At lap 100 of the 188-lap event, Park was posted in the 14th spot and had moved as high as third, getting drafting help and watching close competition, often going three wide. Unfortunately, the Pennzoil car ran out of gas and Park went down four laps before getting involved in the 12-car melee that inevitably happens on the 2.66-mile track. The Pennzoil team worked diligently and got the car back out with 15 laps remaining to pick up some valuable positions and finish 32nd.

Posting his third consecutive top-10 finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Pennzoil driver Steve Park worked his way from the 39th spot to seventh at the end of the 334-lap UAW-GM 500. A two-tire pit stop early in the race put Park and the Pennzoil Chevrolet toward the front where he was able to remain throughout the day for his best finish on the 1.5-mile, quad oval.

Surpassing Mike Skinner in the points race, Park moved into the 11th spot in the Winston Cup standings. Hoping to crack the top-10 for the first time in his Winston Cup career, the 33-year-old gained Jeff Gordon and Ward Burton as he currently sits 313 away from the 10th position held by Gordon.

"I'm real excited about running in the No Bull 5," said Park, who finished 14th during last year's fall event at Talladega. "This is a great opportunity not only for myself by the entire Pennzoil team. They've worked hard all year and this would be a great way to pay them back. I will expect the best out of myself and know that the team will also give their all on Sunday."

"With the new rules, we'll race really well," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "There will be some close racing as the drivers will go two and three wide. Qualifying is a little trickier but we think we've got a handle on it this time. Testing in Daytona for NASCAR's restrictor plate run will definitely help us perform better. We think we are as ready as we can be."

"The guys in the engine shop are working real hard but really is about the whole package," continued Andrews. "The body and the motor go together so you try to have the best of everything. A good body can make the motor look good and vice versa."

<pre> Steve Park Talladega Superspeedway Performance Record Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 DieHard 500 (WC) 41 32 145/188 Running $45,695 1999 DieHard 500 (WC) 30 37 154/188 Running 36,790 Winston 500 (WC) 35 14 188/188 Running 46,185 1998 DieHard 500 (WC) DNS Winston 500 (WC) 35 41 101/188 Valve Spring 25,550 1997 B'ham Auto 500K (Busch) 12 2 117/117 Running 29,525

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Steve Park , Mike Skinner