NASCAR WCUP: Park First To Race In Top Five NASCAR Divisions at NHIS
26 August 1998When #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park takes the green flag on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway he becomes the first driver to race in NASCAR's top five touring series at that track. Park's NHIS record includes four victories in the Featherlite Modifieds, one victory in the Busch North car a second place finish in his only Busch South race and a fourth place finish in his only Craftsman Truck appearance. Park, a native of East Northport, N.Y., lived in Ellington, Conn., about a 3-hour drive from NHIS, when he drove in the modified series and considers NHIS his home track. Park, who turned 31 on Sunday, nearly made the 1997 August Winston Cup at NHIS before a problem in qualifying. He missed 13 races including the 1998 Jiffy Lube 300 due to a broken right femur, left collarbone and right shoulder blade suffered in a March 6 wreck at Atlanta. Park returned to action Aug. 1 at Indianapolis.
New Hampshire International Speedway:
"New Hampshire is sort of a homecoming for me. It's a place where guys from the Northeast like myself had the opportunity to showcase our talent in front of a lot of the Winston Cup, Busch, and Truck owners and drivers. Competing in five of NASCAR's top divisions there is pretty neat. I think I have raced every type of car that has ever been on that track except an Indy car. Right now, I don't have any ambition to race one of those cars there. This is a place that gave me my start so it has a special place in my heart.
"I'm going up there early to see friends and ride my Harley Davidson. First, I'm going to stop in my hometown of Ellington (Conn.) where I lived when I was racing in the modifieds. Then I'll go up to New Hampshire. I like to ride around Lake Winnipesaukee where the track is. The scenery is really pretty up there and the roads are fun to run the Harley on. If you see me out on my motorcycle don't forget to wave, but concentrate on what you are doing because I don't need to get hurt in a wreck. We've already had enough of that this year."
Racing In Front of Home Folks:
"Racing in front of your home folks puts a little more pressure on you because everyone is there to see you and cheer for you. On the other hand it's also a great place to perform well. I think I might be a little nervous once we get there, but once we get the Pennzoil car through qualifying and start working on the race setup those nervous jitters will settle down and we will be OK." Missing Last Month's Jiffy Lube 300 At NHIS:
"I felt capable of racing here last time, so it was really hard to go back to New Hampshire and sit and watch someone else race my Pennzoil car. It was a tough thing to go through, but it has made going back a second time even sweeter. I'm just glad Bob and Gary Bahre were able to get a second date there or I wouldn't get a chance to race in New Hampshire until 1999."
Missing The Second NHIS Winston Cup Race In 1997: "Last year we were trying to gain experience we needed for our rookie year and we had the fastest car in the Saturday morning practice. I made a rookie mistake qualifying when I locked my left front tire going into turn three and we missed the race. I thought we had a car capable of running real well so we are going back there a bit more determined."
* Sunday, August 30, 1998 in Loudon, NH for the Farm Aid On CMT 300
* Track/Race Length: 1.058 miles, 300 laps, 317.4 miles
* TV: 1:15pm/et on TNN
* Practice: Friday, August 28th, 11:00am - 1:00pm; 2:00 - 3:00pm/et; Saturday, August 29th, 9:30 - 10:30am/et
* First Round Qualifying - 1 lap, Friday, August 28, 1998 at 4:00pm/et, MRN via the radio and internet Second-Round Qualifying: 1 lap, Saturday, August 29th at 11:00am/et
* Happy Hour Practice, Saturday, August 29th, following the BGNN race which starts at 3:15pm/et, TV-TNN