Steve Park to Carry
In Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
June 25, 1999
HOMESTEAD, Fla. When NASCAR Winston Cup racing comes to South Florida for the first
time, Steve Park will find himself in the spotlight when he drives the Pennzoil Chevrolet
in the inaugural Pennzoil 400 Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The event ticket, program cover and advertising theme all feature the bright yellow No. 1
Pennzoil Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt and driven by Park, who is in his first full
season of NASCAR Winston Cup competition.
The personable 31-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native is up to the challenge. He has found
success in his only race on the 1.5-mile oval, qualifying second and finishing 12th in the
1997 Jiffy Lube Miami 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. On the down side, he crashed last fall
in a test session.
"The race track is one of the most challenging I have ever raced on," Park
explained. "I think I've experienced every emotion there. I almost won the pole there
in the 1997 NASCAR Busch race -- qualifying second. But then last year I hit the wall
pretty hard while testing Dale Earnhardt Jr.s NASCAR Winston Cup car. That hurt!
"You have to be about perfect to get a good lap at Miami, and that's the kind of
challenge every driver likes."
Emerging as a solid contender in NASCAR Winston Cup competition, Park dominated the early
action in the recent event at Lowes Motor Speedway. While a brief meeting with the
turn four wall sidelined him early, he followed up that run with a sixth place finish in
the Kmart 400 at Michigan. It was his best career finish, after missing nearly half of his
rookie season recovering from injuries suffered in a practice crash at Atlanta.
The second-generation driver cut his teeth in NASCARs Featherlite Modified Tour,
finishing runner-up for the championship in both 1995 and 1996. A pole-winning run subbing
for Joe Nemechek in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Watkins Glen in 1996 caught
the attention of Earnhardt, who hired the young ace to pilot his Busch Series car in 1997.
Park came through with a sensational Rookie of the Year campaign, finishing third in the
point standings with three victories and four second-place finishes.
Now, Park is emerging as a contender in NASCARs senior division, knocking
on the door for his first victory. Having the race sponsor painted on the fenders of his
car will have him even more excited when he returns to South Florida.
"I think anyone coming to the Pennzoil 400 is going to be in for a pretty good
show," said Park. "The track is fast enough that the fans will get the speed
they all seem to like. But, the track isn't so fast that we can't do a little beating and
banging. I love beating and banging as long as that Pennzoil car comes out on top. If you
have never seen a NASCAR Winston Cup race then I think you will be in for a treat if you
come to the Pennzoil 400."
Park is no stranger to South Florida, and had the opportunity to witness the rebuilding of
Homestead and the birth of the Speedway following Hurricane Andrews devastation in
"What's really neat about the race track is the story behind it. If you saw that area
of South Florida after the hurricane came through it would have taken a lot of imagination
to think they could rebuild that place so quickly. That's a testament to the people down
there. They could have given up and nobody would have questioned them, but they decided to
stick it out and they turned it into a pretty cool area."
A "pretty cool" area with a "really neat" race track, and Steve Park
would like nothing better than to drive to Victory Lane in the inaugural Pennzoil 400.
Steve Park on South Florida
"Not only is Homestead a world-class race track, but Miami is a world-class city.
I've spent the last two New Year's Eves in South Florida and had a blast. I go down there
to take a break from the racing scene. Like Will Smith says in that song I came for
two days of playing and ended up staying."
Reserved grandstand seats are now on sale for the Pennzoil 400. For tickets call (305)
230-7223. For additional information, visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site
at www.racemiami.com .
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