Park's cut tire puts Talladega out of reach

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- It was another disheartening day on a superspeedway for Pennzoil driver Steve Park after he cut a tire on lap 90 during Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. With the inner liner holding strong, however, Park drove the ...

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- It was another disheartening day on a superspeedway for Pennzoil driver Steve Park after he cut a tire on lap 90 during Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. With the inner liner holding strong, however, Park drove the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet back into the pits without sustaining any body damage although he would go a lap down. Never able to regain that lap due to the lack of cautions, Park finished in the 31st spot.

"I'm not sure what we ran over but the guys told me it put a pretty good hole in the tire," said Park, who fell two spots to seventh in the points standings, 236 from the leader Dale Jarrett. "We were just biding our time and letting the race shake out before moving our way toward the front. It just hate it for everybody on the Pennzoil team because we spent two days testing at Talladega a couple of weeks ago and felt like we had a shot at a decent finish."

After qualifying with the 17th fastest time, Park, along with several other top drivers, played it conservatively by running in the back of the field early in the event, knowing they could make a move late in the race as proven by the late Dale Earnhardt during the most recent race in Talladega. Pushing his Monte Carlo to the 14th spot at one time during the early going to get a feel for the car in traffic, Park then settled back into the field and was running in the 26th position when he ran over something on the track, causing the flat front left tire.

"Can't wait until we can turn around our superspeedway program," said Park. "I know the Pennzoil team has the capability, it's just a matter of getting some decent breaks. No one could have predicted cutting a tire. It's just one of those things you hate to see happen."

Bobby Hamilton took the checkered flag with Tony Stewart, rookie Kurt Busch, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte rounding out the top-five.

-RW

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Steve Park , Kurt Busch , Mark Martin