Requalifying on Monday Allows Park Opportunity at Daytona on Sunday

13 February 1998


The biggest moment so far in Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park's
Winston Cup career didn't occur on Thursday during the rookie's first
qualifying race at the Daytona International Speedway. 

In fact, Park's moment of reckoning didn't even occur on the track.
Instead, crew chief Philippe Lopez and team manager Ty Norris decided
Monday to take a chance and requalify the Pennzoil Monte Carlo. 

NASCAR determines the field of the sport's most prestigious race by
taking about 30 cars from two qualifying races, six cars based on their
qualifying lap times and seven provisional starters based on last year's
points. Since the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team is new, it has no points and
therefore ineligible for provisonals. If Park were to fall out of his
qualifying race, then he would have to rely on that single lap
qualifying time to make the field.

Park's Sunday speed which was 24th quickest would be on the borderline
of getting him in the race. But the team risked dropping even further
down the speed chart if it went slower on Monday.

"It was a risk, but it's something we thought is worth taking," said
Lopez, a veteran crew chief.

After a slow first lap, Park picked up the pace and posted a lap good
enough for 17th quickest time. The lap made Park the fastest of the cars
qualifying in the second round and eligible for the Bud Shootout
preliminary race in 1999. 

	Unfortunately, Lopez's fears were realized on Thursday. Park wrecked in
an accident caused by several other cars in the early laps of the second
qualifying race. Although uninjured, it was time to wait and see if
Monday's speed was good enough to allow him to race in his first Daytona
500.

"We'll just have to see what happens," said the East Northport, NY
rookie after walking out of the track hospital. "This is the reason we
gambled on requalifying on Monday. Let's see if it pays off."

The gamble paid off. But just barely. Billy Standridge's 20th quickest
speed was the last speed transferred into Daytona 500 field. Park made
it and only made it into the Daytona 500 field because of Lopez's and
Norris's decision to requalify on Monday.

"Man, that was something. I think it is a credit to Philippe and (car
chief) Chad (Knaus) and Ty that they were able to make a decision like
that," Park said. "It took some guts to make that call, but that's what
put us in the race."

Park starts Sunday's race in 33rd position with plans to practice the
back up Pennzoil Monte Carlo on Friday and Saturday in preparation for
Sunday's race. 

"I think this car might be a better in the draft than the car we crashed
today, but I guess we won't know until we take it out on the track,"
Norris said.

Sterling Marlin and Dale Earnhardt won each of their qualifying races on
Thursday. Johnny Benson, David Green, Kenny Wallace, Hut Stricklin, Jeff
Green, and Todd Bodine did not make the field for the Daytona 500.

Sunday's race will be televised by CBS.

							
	For More Information
	Contact: Drew Brown
	Pennzoil Racing
	(704) 895-3651
	drewbrown@pennzoil.com

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