Hometown: East Northport, NY
Car Number: 1
Team: Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Dale and Teresa Earnhardt make their first full-time foray into the NASCAR Winston Cup
Series as owners with rookie Steve Park in 1998.
Previously the operation had oversaw Park's running of the No. 3 ACDelco-sponsored
Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch Series in 1997.
Steve Park had a
breakout season in 2000 in the No. 1 Chevrolets fielded by Dale Earnhardt Inc., scoring
his first Winston Cup victory and his best finish in the point standings, 11th.
Park, whose three-year Winston Cup career
has been marked with jagged peaks and valleys, broke into Victory Lane at his "home
track," Watkins Glen International, in August. Park, whose career was interrupted by
serious injuries suffered at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1998, won the Winston Open at
Charlotte in May. After dropping into the 20s in the point standings early in the season,
he rebounded to challenge for a top-10 spot with a superb second half of the year.
Park, from East Northport, N.Y., put an
exclamation point on his intentions for 2001 when he finished the season with three
top-10s in the last four races. He scored four top-5 finishes over a stretch of seven
races, beginning with the Watkins Glen victory. He will return in 2001 with crew chief
Paul Andrews, who engineered six top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes in 2000, as well as the
first two Winston Cup poles of Park's career.
Park, whose father and uncle, Bob and Bill
Park, were successful Modified racers in the Northeast, moved to the Winston Cup Series
after winning rookie of the year honors in the Busch Series in 1997, scoring victories at
Nashville, Michigan and Richmond. He finished third in the Busch standings that season,
the only full year he competed there, along with running five Winston Cup races.
Park's career has accelerated quickly. He
finished second in the Featherlite Modified Series point standings in 1996, when he was
named the series' most popular driver. In 1995, he finished second in the Modified
standings and was tour pole champion. Park has also won races in the Busch North Series.
He got Earnhardt's attention with his performance in a Modified and a Craftsman truck at
Watkins Glen in 1996.
Copyright © 1998-2001 The Earnhardt Connection
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