NASCAR WCUP: Michigan Is Where Park Learned He Could Race The Big Boys
12 August 1998#1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park celebrated his second career Busch Series victory the last time he visited Michigan Speedway. Park beat several Winston Cup drivers for his second of three victories during his first and only year in the Busch Series. Since his return from a broken right femur, left collarbone and right shoulder blade suffered in a March 6 wreck at Atlanta, Park's results haven't shown just how fast he has raced in the Pennzoil Monte Carlo. Park was as high as fifth place at Indy and catching the leaders before late race problems dropped him in the field and he passed more than 20 cars under green flag conditions at Watkins Glen before gear problems left him with only third gear.
What Does It Take To Do Well At Michigan:
"It takes a lot of courage. Michigan rewards the driver that can keep his foot in the gas longer than the other guy."
1997 Michigan Busch Race:
"That was an incredible race. We won three last year, but Michigan was the first race we won with all the Winston Cup guys in the field. We didn't just beat the Busch regulars, but we beat a handful of Winston Cup drivers at a track where rookies don't usually fare so well. I took an instant liking to the track. It's similar to California. It's D-shaped with plenty of room to race. The secret there is to get your car to turn at high speeds. I think Mark Martin will be the favorite because he's been able to get his car to turn through the center of the corner at these high-speed tracks better than anyone has. But, I don't think anyone in his or her right mind would bet against Jeff Gordon. My team's fifth-place finish in California with Darrell (Waltrip) proved it can build a pretty good car as well. I hope it can be as kind to me my Winston Cup rookie season as it was my Busch rookie season. I don't know if that is the specific day I knew I could race in Winston Cup, but that day sure helped my confidence in making the jump that we made this year."
"I tell you what, racing is a lot nicer than sitting. I have been asked about a million times, 'When you are going to get back in a car and how does your leg feel?' I think everyone knew that I was back when I got up to fifth place at Indy and then we ran so well at Watkins Glen before we had gear trouble. Things are just now getting back to normal for me. When I didn't race it seemed abnormal. Racing is normal to me. "
Mark Martin Whose Father Julian Died Saturday In An Airplane Accident:
"Mark Martin is about the best there is in this business. More than any competitor in the Busch Series last year, Mark taught me how to race. And, I learned by just watching him this year. It seems when the race starts he would let a lot of cars go by him and then find a place where he could run without abusing his tires. Then when the race neared the end he would start passing those cars and then he'd usually win. I hate what happened to Mark's family this week and hope everything is OK. That's something that I hope never happens to anyone. I think if you ask most drivers, the most important man in their lives is their father. I know I rely on mine for a lot of support and advice, as I'm sure Mark did his father. I didn't know Mark's Dad but the father of someone who is as respected as Mark is at his profession must have been a pretty good guy."
* Sunday, August 16, 1998 in Brooklyn, MI for the Pepsi 400 Presented by DeVilbiss
* Track/Race Length: 2 miles, 200 laps, 400 miles
* TV: 12:30pm/et on ESPN
* First Round Qualifying - 1 lap, Friday, August 14, 1998 at 3:30pm/et, TV-ESPN2 Live
* Second-Round Qualifying: 1 lap, Saturday, August 15th at 10:45am/et
* Happy Hour Practice, Saturday, August 15th, After the BGN race, TV-ESPN2 6pm/et(tape delay)