Park Persevered To Finish 10th At Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- After break problems during qualifying put the reigning track champion in the 37th position to start the race, Pennzoil driver Steve Park overcame adversities throughout the ...
Park Persevered To Finish 10th At Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- After break problems during qualifying put the reigning track champion in the 37th position to start the race, Pennzoil driver Steve Park overcame adversities throughout the weekend to post a very respectable 10th-place finish during the Global Crossing at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sunday afternoon.
"We really felt we had a car to qualify well, but started almost last because of a brake problem," said Park, who won at the Glen from the 18th position last year. "But I really felt that if we could get the Pennzoil car handling where we needed to be, we would be able to come from the back and post a decent finish. The car was consistent enough to be able to work our way up to the front."
Without making a single lap during time trials, Park took a provisional to defend his crown. Ignition box problems gave the young driver another scare before the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet went through inspection on Sunday morning. The crew persevered though and never gave up.
Pitting during the first caution on lap 19, Park was then out of sequence with the leaders as they came in for service on lap 29. Running in the front as others did pit, crew chief Paul Andrews kept Park on the track until lap 52 when they pitted again for four tires and minor adjustments. Patient in the second half of the race, the New York native hit his marks and ran smooth.
With fuel mileage close at the end, Andrews welcomed the late cautions that allowed Park to conserve gas, avoiding a late-race pit stop. As several of the top runners jockeyed dangerously for position late in the race, Park moved up three spots in the waning laps to remain 11th in the points standings -- 63 points from the 10th spot.
"It's all we would ask for from starting 37th. We really didn't have a great racecar," said Park, who remains 11th in the points standings. I knew what the late and great Dale Earnhardt told me -- he said that if you stay on the course and don't burn your brakes up or break your transmission, you can finish in the top 10. We used that theory to get us a good, solid top-10 finish. Just being patience today paid off."
Winning for the fourth time at Watkins Glen, Jeff Gordon, who is first in the points standings, became the all-time leader in road course victories with seven. Rounding out the top five were Jeff Burton, Jeremy Mayfield, Ricky Rudd and Todd Bodine.