NASCAR WCUP: Steve Park: Talladega Drafting Means Making Friends

20 April 1999

Steve Park: Talladega Drafting Means Making Friends Even If It's Short Track Rivals From Bristol, Martinsville

#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park knows the most important tool in going to the front on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway is a good drafting partner no matter if it's the same driver who made you mad at Bristol or Martinsville. Those short tracks allowed drivers to beat and bang as well as let off a little steam on fellow competitors. The 190-mph speeds of Talladega allow none of that. Instead, finding a partner to draft with during the race is the key to finishing well. Assuming you avoid the big wreck.

Park on Racing Talladega Following Short Tracks:

"The schedule maker must be laughing right now. We just spent two weekends at Bristol and Martinsville where you are beating, banging, routing and gouging each other on the short tracks. Then they put us at Talladega where we need a drafting partner more than anything else. So now I'm supposed to rely on a guy who I have been mad at for two weeks to help me in the race.

"At Bristol and Martinsville you can kind of give a love tap to someone who is in your way or someone who you're mad at. At Talladega, if you do that you are going to cause a heck of a big wreck and probably wipe out most of the field. That's a driver's biggest nightmare. At Talladega you will hook up with your worst enemy if it makes you faster."

Park on Musical Chairs At Talladega:

"Remember when you were a kid and you played musical chairs. The object of that game was that you always wanted to be by a chair when the music stops. That's just like Talladega. You keep going round and round just waiting for the wreck to happen and when it does you hope you can find a safe place."

Park on The Big Wreck:

"I guess the big wreck at Talladega is inevitable. There's no strategy in missing it. Some years it starts with the leaders and sometimes it starts back in the pack. Leading a race is always great but at Talladega you need to lead the race just as a matter of survival."

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