NASCAR WCUP: Dover Peview, Team Pennzoil
15 September 1998Steve Park: "Even With Less Bumps Dover is Tough"
Dover Downs International Speedway has a couple of nicknames, but #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driver Steve Park said no matter what you call the mile high-banked track it's extra tough and men and machinery. The concrete surface makes for a bumpy and fast ride.
Park learned how tough Dover can be last year when he failed to qualify for the Winston Cup race. This year Park and his Dale Earnhardt teammates tested at Dover on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. He was one of the first drivers to drive on the track since track officials ground down several of the trickier bumps in preparation for the Indy Racing League race on July 18.
What's In A Name?
"They have called that track the Monster Mile or White Lightning plus whatever name they are using now. I think that place has more nicknames than any track we go to. If you notice, none of them are nice soothing names either. There is good reason for that. I think all the names are designed to intimidate the drivers and especially a rookie driver."
"The concrete bumps were ground down for the IRL race a few months ago. I don't know if the grounding down is going to be an issue this weekend. The track is better and smoother than before. If you look at the track closely, with it being cement, there is a crack every eight or ten feet that gives you a speed bump effect. They didn't take the speed bump effect out of the track as much as it did some of the major dips and bumps that would upset an open wheel car. The spots they did grind down were a little slick but once the Winston Cup cars get there and put some rubber on the track it will be fine."
Is Dover Intimidating?
"We went to Dover last year in the #14 car and didn't make the show. So I was pretty worried about the place. Then we went and tested there right after New Hampshire and ran a lot faster than we did last year. I think Dover is a place that rewards experience. It's an intimidating place until you get on it when you have a fast comfortable car and then it isn't so bad."
"I think guys like Kyle Petty and Mark Martin who are fast and smooth seem to always be the favorite at Dover. It's an easy place to get caught up in a wreck so really anybody has a chance there."