The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NASCAR BGN Series MBNA 200 Preview: #3, Steve Park

17 September 1997

 #3 Steve Park, ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division
 MBNA 200 Advance
 Dover Downs International Speedway

DOVER, DE - Rookie Steve Park has recorded four straight top-five finishes, 
including two victories in his last four starts, and the 30-year-old driver 
of the No. 3 ACDelco Monte Carlo realizes it'll take five more top fives in 
the final five races of the season if he hopes to challenge for the series 

Park and the ACDelco team will head to Dover Downs International Speedway for 
Saturday's MBNA 200 NASCAR Busch Grand National race fresh off their third 
victory of the season two weeks ago at Richmond. 

The East Northport, N.Y., native has been rewriting the Busch Grand National 
rookie record book in '97. He has won more races, more money, recorded more 
top-five finishes and accumulated more points than any rookie in the history 
of the series. 

With five races remaining, Park has already clinched rookie of the year 
honors, and he ranks third in the overall series standings. Park trails 
defending series champion Randy LaJoie by 358 points and second-place Todd 
Bodine by just 179 points. 

Park, who drives for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on the Busch Series, has signed to 
drive for Earnhardt on the Winston Cup circuit next season. But he's got five 
more starts with crew chief Tony Eury and the No. 3 ACDelco team in 1997, and 
he hasn't given up on overtaking LaJoie and Bodine down the stretch. 

"Mathematically, we're two races behind Randy LaJoie," Park said. "If Todd 
Bodine and LaJoie drop out of a couple of races, and we can keep running in 
the top five, we're going to gain some points quick. If you look at where we 
were five races ago and how many points we've gained, we've still got a 

"We're not point racing yet. We're just trying to finish in the top five and 
would like to win another race before the year is out. I think we can do 

"If we can't win it, I'd like to finish second, and if I can't do that, I'd 
like to hold on to third. It's not a three-car race. The guys behind us are 
pretty close. We've got to be careful. They could sneak up behind us. 
Hopefully we'll be within 50 points of the lead in the last two races, and we 
can have a run for the championship."

Park recorded one of his top five finishes in May at Dover. He finished fifth 
in that race and learned a lot about the high-banked white concrete at the 
Monster Mile. 

"We had a good run at Dover the first time out, and I hope we can go back and 
have another good run Saturday," Park said. "LaJoie and Bodine are always 
good there, so we've got our work cut out for us, but we're going there to 
try to win.

"Our goals have changed a little bit since the first of the season. When we 
set our goals at the beginning of the year, I said I'd like to win one race. 
If you can come into the Busch series as a rookie and win a race, you're 
accomplishing something. I've watched on TV for years and some guys run five 
or six seasons before they win. 

"It's a competitive series, and with guys like LaJoie and Mark Martin who win 
five or six races a year, that doesn't leave many scraps for many other guys. 
To have a rookie win one is an honor, never mind three. It's been a great 

"Tony (crew chief Eury) can be a little hard-headed at times and so can I. We 
all seem to have the same goal in mind, and that's to win races. After I 
gained his respect and his trust, things just got easier. He had the 
confidence in me, if I needed something in the car, that we can work together 
as a team. 

"Dale (Earnhardt) has taught me to be patient. It paid off at Richmond. We 
ran a real patient race, and we let it all hang out when it counted and ended 
up in victory lane. We'll try to do that again this week at Dover."

A top-10 finish in this week's race would give Park another Busch rookie 
record for top 10 finishes in a season. He currently shares that mark with 
Kenny Wallace. They each have 16. 

Park has led 12 of 25 races in '97 and ranks fifth in most miles led with 
399.122. He ranks fourth in laps led with 426, and he's tied for third with 
Elliott Sadler for number of wins with three. Martin and LaJoie have won five 

Park's victories came at Nashville, Michigan and Richmond, and he has three 
runner-up finishes at Talladega, Loudon and Bristol. Although Park's 
experience is mostly on the short tracks, he says he enjoys racing 

"I haven't found one I don't like yet," Park said. "Each track seems to bring 
on new challenges. We've been welcoming all the new challenges and just 
trying to get our learning curve up to speed."

By Champion Sports Group