EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 - Notes & Quotes
LAS VEGAS, Tuesday, March 9, 2004 – The following pre-race notes, quotes and statistics are for Steve Park, driver of the No. 62 Orleans Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, prior to the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway March 13.
The team’s primary Dodge Ram for Atlanta is Lone Star, the truck that Brendan Gaughan drove to four consecutive wins at Texas Motor Speedway. Lone Star has competed seven times. In addition to the four Texas wins, Gaughan drove Lone Star to an 18th-place finish at Michigan in 2002 and an 11th-place finish at Las Vegas in 2000. Scott Lynch finished 12th in the same truck at Miami in 2003.
Park has 11 starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and one in the NASCAR Busch Series. His best finish was fourth in March of 2000 in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.
Park suffered a broken right femur, left collarbone and right shoulder blade in a crash during practice for the Primestar 500 in March of 1998 at Atlanta. The injuries caused him to miss 15 races.
Park is 27th in points after one race of 25. He finished 27th in Daytona after an accident sent the team behind the wall for repairs. Park returned to the track with 25 laps remaining and moved from 35th to 27th. He gained 27 points in the final 25 laps.
Brian Finneran, wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, and George Layne, fullback for the Falcons, will be in the Orleans Racing pit during the race.
There is one hometown connection on the No. 62 team. Jeremy Adams, who handles the catch can and works as a fabricator, lived in nearby Ellenwood, Ga., until he was 16 years old. He attended Fairview Elementary and Stockbridge Middle School. He went to Lake City Christian School his freshman year and then relocated to San Bernardino, Calif.
Team Atlanta Results
Orleans Racing has no starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is the first year for the track to play host to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway: “I love Atlanta. It is fast racetrack, the fastest track we go to. It is smooth. The racing is incredible. From the start of the race, you will see guys on the bottom, guys on the top, guys in the middle. It is definitely not a one-groove racetrack. Going there for the first time with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, I think, it is going to be one of the best races the people of Atlanta have seen. I’m excited about it.”
Thoughts on this being the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta: “It is going to level the playing field as far as the set up goes because you can’t test there. Guys who have raced at Atlanta before like me, Ted Musgrave, Bobby Hamilton and Mike Skinner are going to be able to adapt to the racetrack in the trucks faster. I think you will see experience come into play here even though we haven’t raced Atlanta in the Craftsman Trucks.”
What are the advantages and disadvantages to one race a month: “It is all advantages. I really didn’t know how to act at first. It makes you realize you didn’t have much of a life outside of racing. After Daytona I got a chance to go down to the Florida Keys with a bunch of friends of mine and ride motorcycles. Then I went back to Daytona for Bike Week. That is the first time in seven years I have had the opportunity to do that. I realized how much fun I’ve missed with my friends. They are almost more pleased than you are that you get a chance to spend some time with them because they really haven’t seen you in seven years, just sporadically here and there. The Craftsman Truck Series gives us a chance to do what we love to do and have a little bit of a private life. It is definitely taking an adjustment period, but it is nice. The first couple of months here we race once a month until we start racing three times a month. We are going to take the time to get to know this new team. This gives us an opportunity to get caught up since we have so many new people. This lets us get caught up so when we race three times a month, we will be prepared to do that.”
Recap your thoughts on Daytona: “I had a chance to watch the tape of the race and see what I could have done differently. I thought if I moved up into the top five I would be in a different type of company where I wouldn’t get in trouble. It was David Reutimann‘s first experience going three wide on a superspeedway. Obviously, that was a racing accident. I got a call from David. He was apologetic. He explained to me it was his first experience. He learned from it, just like we all have. I remember when I was a rookie at Daytona. The way you learn is by making mistakes and learning from them. He is a smart race car driver.”