NASCAR: Steve Park To Return at Brickyard
2 July 1998(Charlotte) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced Tuesday that #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park will return to NASCAR Winston Cup racing on Aug. 1 for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. At that time, substitute driver Darrell Waltrip will return to Tyler Jet Motorsports #17 team at Indianapolis.
Park is recovering from a broken right femur, a broken left collarbone, a broken right shoulder blade and two chipped teeth suffered in a severe crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 6. At the time of the accident, doctors estimated Park's recovery at 3-6 months. Park is walking unaided and undergoing daily rehabilitation under the guidance of Dr. Walt Beaver, an orthopedic surgeon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Park tested at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina last week.
Ty Norris, DEI Director of Motorsports:
"We explored a variety of opportunities for Steve in the past two weeks, but all of us finally decided that we need to stay focused on a one-car team and stick to our original schedule of bringing Steve back for the Brickyard 400. As much as we would like to, we just can't run two cars. It's just asking too much from a first-year team just hitting its stride.
"Steve has worked very hard to overcome the injuries and it's going to be pretty neat to have him back. It's remarkable that Steve is healthy enough to return by Indy. That's two months earlier than his doctors originally diagnosed. Darrell will drive the Pennzoil car through the July Pocono race, which gives us the luxury of not having to rush Steve back too early. We tested at Greenville-Pickens last week just to knock the rust off and Steve got right back up to speed. Our next step is to test at Indy on July 13-14-15 and be 100 percent for the Brickyard.
"Our team is looking forward to Steve's return and getting back in the fight for rookie of the year. But, words cannot express what Darrell and Stevie Waltrip have meant to this team while Steve was mending. We feel like we have been a big part of the re-birth of a three-time champion while he has been a big part of getting a race team in its infancy on its feet."
Steve Park Quote:
"I wish I could get back in the Pennzoil Monte Carlo right now, but that's the breaks. What I plan to do right now is continue to get well and work hard in testing and wait for the Brickyard to come around. I hate sitting out and watching, but I understand that we just can't do two teams at this stage of our development. Darrell is doing a good job and we have a commitment to him. But, I can't wait for Brickyard. It's like waiting for Christmas to come and knowing that you have a big yellow Pennzoil Monte Carlo under the tree that you can't open."