Pennzoil Driver Park Respects History At Famous Track As He Seeks To Add His Name To The List Of Winners At Indy INDIANAPOLIS -- It may not be the famed Indianapolis 500 but try telling the NASCAR Winston Cup drivers that the importance for ...
Pennzoil Driver Park Respects History At Famous Track As He Seeks To Add His Name To The List Of Winners At Indy
INDIANAPOLIS -- It may not be the famed Indianapolis 500 but try telling the NASCAR Winston Cup drivers that the importance for winning at the Brickyard is any less. Racing on the 2-mile oval since 1994, the stock car racers covet the honor of taking the checkered flag during the Brickyard 400 and Pennzoil driver Steve Park is no exception.
"Everybody wants to win a Indianapolis," commented Steve Park, who pilots the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet in his 111th Winston Cup event this weekend. "The track is full of racing history and it would be an honor to be apart of the record books. This is the second biggest race of the season for us with the Daytona 500 obviously the biggest. Whether it's the Indy 500 or the Brickyard 400, the race still holds a large amount of prestige."
The 160-lap event is scheduled to get underway on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. CDT with all 43 Winston Cup drivers seeking that victory that means so much. Although scattered showers are in the forecast, that won't damper anybody's spirit and a limited practice schedule creates a larger challenge preparing for qualifying and the race.
"With just one hour of practice on Friday and then again on Saturday morning, time to prepare for qualifying will be a little less than what we' re use to," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "A good qualifying effort is imperative since passing is so hard at Indy. Had a good test and have a brand new car to race this weekend. We'll be in good shape -- built the car to be a mix of a speedway car and a car with plenty of downforce. Horsepower is important but need to combine that with handling in order to be successful at Indy.
"Most drivers make the move for positions coming off the corners, handling becomes a factor getting out of the turn but then he must be able to pass on the straightaway," continued Andrews, who felt the test at Indy several weeks ago was a very beneficial. "Confident that we'll be able to qualify up front but then we need to be prepared to stay there. Aerodynamics plays a huge part in that role. That's why we built a car the combines both speed and handling." Competing in his fourth outing at Indy this year, Park saw modest success during last season's event when he finished in the 16th position. Qualifying with the 22nd fastest time, Park moved into the top 10 several times after gaining track positions following a two-tire stop early in the race.
"You've got to have the right package and combination to win not only the Brickyard but any race," said Park, who is currently 13th in the points standings. "Ask every driver and they will tell you the same thing -- it all has to come together. We are fairly confident that we can do that again this weekend and with Pennzoil as one of the event sponsors, we have extra incentive and that may be all it takes."
With only Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett posting duplicate wins in the track's seven-race history with NASCAR, Park would like to follow in his former boss ' footsteps (Dale Earnhardt won the event in 1995) to become one of the drivers to post a single win on the infamous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. <pre> Steve Park Indianapolis Motor Speedway Performance Record Year Race St Fin Laps Status Winnings 2000 Brickyard 400 (WC) 22 16 159/160 Running $109,560 1999 Brickyard 400 (WC) 32 15 160/160 Running 109,610 1998 Brickyard 400 (WC) 25 35 148/160 Accident 68,025