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NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Winston Cup

NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

Steve Park
January 18, 2003


Q. We have Steve Park with us.

STEVE PARK: You hear about guys wanting time off toward the end of the year. Then it is like you have a month off and you are like, man, I wish I could race again, so you want some time off and it's nice to have a couple of weeks off. For us, we want to race. That's what we do. I think what would be nice, you have heard of stories, what might happen if we race all year long. I think if that happens, you got to look at having maybe three weeks on, one week off. Just have a little bit of time. I'm fortunate, I don't have all family and kids as of yet. I don't know how these guys that have family and kids can stand being away from home for so long. So it's just one of those things where maybe having the time off would be nice. I told my crew chief, Tony Gibson, that it would be nice if we had a race Saturday night at Charlotte, under the lights, we could show up Saturday, qualify, race Saturday night and go home in our backyard. So that kind of eases the burden of having the winter blues. But I'm ready to race. I feel good. My team is probably in the best shape it's been in the last two years. I'm excited about Tony Gibson coming on board as our new crew chief. We have about eight new people within the shop. They're doing a great job. The new Chevrolet is coming a long good. We are a little behind the 8-ball trying to get things done. But we feel with the new car it's going to help us out on flat tracks. It is just like the old Monte Carlo, it's not going to be the best car the first year out but it has potential. The old one had three or four years of development in it. It's one of the things our whole pit-stop team is brand new. I'm looking forward to not only coming in 10th and coming out 1st instead of like last year we come in 12th and come out 22nd. Places like Martinsville, it's kind of hard to rebound from that. You hear the stories of it's been a bad year last year and stuff, but I mean, for Steve Park it's been a good year. Last year was a year we came back from an injury and did what we needed to do and without the support of a good race team, it's hard to run top-10. There is a lot of things where we look back where we came near the top-10 and came out 22nd, had to come in for a lose lug nut or something. That is stuff that we could put behind us and know that I have a car that we can win with. My whole story is not done until we do that. We are determined to do that.

Q. Steve, I know last year you had some good points, but as you look back in the season in retrospect, do you feel that like you maybe came back too quickly like maybe you came back too quickly and forced yourself and taken the whole year off was better for you?

STEVE PARK: When things are good, things are good. When things are bad, things are bad. But it goes back to I felt good, I didn't rush back and get back in the racecar. We tested five times. You know, I went to every doctor imaginable to make sure I felt good and that I could pass tests that they wanted me to take. I'm almost tired of hearing -- it's a story, why you are all here is the fact that whatever makes news sells newspapers. I mean, that's your jobs. Just like it's our jobs to race cars. Comeback too soon, I'm almost tired of hearing that because I don't think I came back too soon. I think I came back not only at the right time, but I probably came back to a race team that was kind of picked apart; it was a race team that when I came back to it, it wasn't the same team I left when I got hurt. So it was things that the company had to do to make both teams, the 8 and the 15 teams that are capable of wining the races. Again they didn't know when I was capable of coming back. So when I came back was back in that rebuilding stage where we had to make a race team that could win races. It wasn't like coming back to a team that won races. In my absence, it didn't win races. We can talk about that all day long. It's in the past. It's one of the things where coming out this year we are going to run so good, I'm so excited about our chances this year that the changes that we made have all been positive. We are fixing to improve that this year.

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