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Steve Park to Drive NASCAR Winston Cup Coors Light #40 Car at Martinsville

22 September 1997

MOORESVILLE, NC - Robby Gordon will not be behind the wheel of the NASCAR Winston Cup #40 Coors Light entry this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

According to a press release distributed by Team SABCO, car owner Felix Sabates has excused Gordon for the weekend to participate in this weekend's CART PPG Indy Car World Series season finale at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. He will compete in a car owned by Carl Hogan.

NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division rookie sensation Steve Park will replace Gordon behind the wheel for Sunday's Hanes 500 at the 0.526-mile track in Martinsville, VA. With the Busch Series taking a week off from competition, the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver was free substitute drive.

Gordon, who currently leads the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year point standings, requested the one-race release and plans to compete in five races remaining on the 1997 schedule.

"I want to thank Team SABCO for understanding and letting me off this weekend," said Gordon. "Felix and the entire team have been behind me 100 percent while I explore my options. The CART series is one of them ... and Winston Cup is still another. I haven't made a decision even on which way I'm leaning right now. But Felix and Team SABCO have been real pros to work with me like this and I'm very grateful."

"Robby came to me last week and asked to be excused for the weekend," explained Felix Sabates, "so he could make the best decision possible regarding his future in racing. We want to give Robby every opportunity to make that decision. He felt climbing behind the wheel of an open-wheeled car this weekend would help with his ultimate decision. We've emphasized to Robby that Team SABCO will not stand in his way regarding any of his future plans in racing.

"Steve Park was a logical choice for two reasons," Sabates added. "The Grand National Series is off this week and we wanted to return a favor to Dale and Teresa Earnhardt for placing Robby in one of their cars during last October's race at Charlotte.

"After this weekend, everything will be back to normal as long as Robby keeps the Indy car between the lines. We certainly don't want to see him get hurt in any way."

Lori Vizza -- The Auto Channel