Steve Park Pre-Race Report - Fontana
Notes of Interest:
To keep things interesting Orleans Racing is doing a little swap this weekend. The swap puts driver Steve Park in a yellow #62 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Dodge Ram for this weekend’s race. The move will be short lived, and just for the American Racing Wheels 200.
Park will wheel the Orleans Racing T2 Dodge Ram. This is the oldest truck in Orleans Racing’s fleet, and scored a 5th place finish in its last outing in 2004, which came at Darlington Raceway.
Park roared to an eighth place finish in 2004, earning $14,250 for the effort.
Park On Fontana:
IS CALIFORNIA A GOOD DRIVER’S TRACK FOR YOU?
“I think so. It’s a great race track to race on. It reminds a lot of Michigan. We’ll have a fast Dodge when we go out there. Aerodynamics play a big role and a lot of drafting. We had a top-ten run there the last time we were there. We’re looking to improve on that and put the Orleans Dodge in Victory Lane."
IS IT FRUSTRATING FOR A DRIVER TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE?
“The problem is that race is typically a fuel mileage race because the race track goes green for a long time and there’s really not a lot of cautions. So it could well up a fuel mileage run. You have to keep in the back of your mind strategy-wise, see how the race is played out and then decide right toward the end near the last pit stop if you’re going to gamble on fuel or if you’re not going to have to. So it always makes for an interesting race for not only the crew chiefs and the drivers but also the race fans.”
DO YOU HAVE TO ADJUST? HOW DO YOU SAVE FUEL?
“Basically you don’t really save fuel as much as you’d like to in the early stages of the race. Then you start looking at where the cautions fall and don’t fall and just about halfway through the race you’re going to have to conserve on fuel mileage. That’s a place where it’s tough. You’ve got to run fast and you’ve got to run with a lot of gas. You really want to tune the carburetor the engine to make the power but not use excessive gas and try to be the guy if the cautions don’t fall can count fuel mileage better than everyone else.”
Crew Chief, Charlie Wilson on Fontana:
“It’s one of the fastest tracks we got to. We need to make sure that Steve is comfortable getting into the corner and not have the truck be too free or too loose. I think that’s our biggest challenge down there.”
DO YOU LOOK FOR A GOOD DOWNFORCE TRUCK OR A SLICKER TRUCK OR WHAT?
“This year we’re taking more of a downforce truck than we have in the past. It’s also a little more balanced but it does have a little more downforce.”
WHAT DOES THAT DOWNFORCE DO FOR THE DRIVER?
“It makes him a little more comfortable going off into the corner.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS HORSEPOWER AT A TRACK LIKE FONTANA?
“Very. California’s got long straightaways and the drivers are on the mat or at full throttle a long time, so you need a good motor down there.”
DO YOU HAVE TO MANAGE IT LIKE A FUEL MILEAGE RACE?
“Yeah. Fontana it seems like always comes down to some sort of fuel mileage race even when we ran there in the West Series. I expect the trucks will be the same way.”
Meet the Crew:
Name Hometown Shop Duty Race Day Duty
Charlie Wilson Bakersfield, CA Crew Chief Crew Chief
Clint Jennings Logan, OH Mechanic Rear Tire Carrier
Harley Rauch Fresno, CA Transmission/Gears Front Tire Changer
Danny Stockman Yucaipa, CA Truck Chief Front Tire Carrier
Gary Brannon Buttonwillow, CA Mechanic Catch Can
Bill Caldwell Culver City, CA Truck Driver Fuel Man
Joel Cox Seattle, WA Fabricator Jack Man
Lance Wilson Bakersfield, CA Front Suspension Rear Tire Changer
Randy Snyder Buena Park, CA Truck Driver Chef