CHICAGO -- In spite of starting in the 30th position, Pennzoil driver Steve Park had high aspirations of a great finish during the Tropicana 400 after posting the third fastest time during final practice; however, his day would end on lap 134 of...
CHICAGO -- In spite of starting in the 30th position, Pennzoil driver Steve Park had high aspirations of a great finish during the Tropicana 400 after posting the third fastest time during final practice; however, his day would end on lap 134 of the 267 lap event at Chicagoland Speedway after engine failure relegated him to a 41st-place finish.
"After having engine failure end my day during the Busch race on Saturday afternoon, I was ready to rebound during the Winston Cup event. That, I guess, wasn't meant to happen," said Park, who is currently 13th in the Winston Cup points standings. "I can't even begin to tell you how disappointed I am right now. We've really had a string of bad luck lately and the Pennzoil team could really use a break. Our hope is that we typically run well during the second half of the season, so that gives us something to look forward to."
With a single groove around the new 1.5-mile track, passing proved difficult early in the race, yet Park still managed to maneuver his way through the field. Running in the 17th position when the NASCAR-mandated caution occurred, Park returned to competition in the 28th spot after several other drivers chose to remain on the track since they pitted during the first caution that happened on lap 24. With tire grip key to gaining positions, Park found the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet slipping in the corners and losing track position.
Going a lap down following the first round of green flag pit stops, Park fought for control as the Monte Carlo was loose getting into the corners. Noticed upon removal from the car during the first two pits stops, the left front tires had blistered and several other teams also experienced tire problems. Pitting at lap 115 for four tires and adjustments, Park still worked hard to gain his lap back; but, suddenly and without warning, the engine let go and Park hit the outside retaining wall. Ending his day at early, Park was posted in the 41st position at the end of the 3-hour and 18-minute race that claimed a total of five engines.
"We were really looking forward to coming to Chicago for the first time and putting up a good finish," added Park. "The track was really fast but it was so hot out there today. It was hottest it's been since we arrived in Chicago. I think it took a toll on a couple of engines as well as some drivers."
Kevin Harvick won the inaugural Tropicana 400, scoring his second career victory in just 17 career races. Rounding out the top five was Robert Pressley, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Jimmy Spencer.