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Steve in trucks

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Veteran Steve Park will drive the full 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season for Orleans Racing, former Orleans driver Brendan Gaughan revealed Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.

Gaughan, the son of team owner Michael Gaughan, was at Daytona for a media briefing following the day's Nextel Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing. He was asked who would replace him in Orleans' No. 62 Dodge.

"The driver's name is on the testing voucher for this weekend," Brendan said of the Craftsman Truck test that is scheduled Saturday-Monday. "The Orleans Racing Team had to get rid of me to get a real driver and a real sponsor."

Gaughan scored six victories during the 2003 Truck Series season, but finished fourth in the championship when he was involved in another driver's crash late in the season finale Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

He was announced Tuesday as the driver of the No. 77 Dodge in the Nextel Cup for Penske-Jasper Racing.

Park, of East Northport, N.Y., has been on the job market since he and Cup owner Richard Childress agreed in late fall that Park would not return as the driver of Childress Racing's Chevrolet.

Park was listed on Orleans' roster for the Truck Series test that was submitted to Daytona Speedway officials. The team's crew chief slot, which was vacated when Shane Wilson went with Gaughan to Penske's, is still open.

"We've got an awesome driver who's excited about driving for Orleans Racing," Gaughan said. "I talked to a lot of guys who (couldn't make a commitment). Our driver said he didn't want to be anywhere else and that made a difference to me."

Gaughan said announcements would also be made this weekend regarding the team's ownership and a sponsor, which Gaughan unsuccessfully sought all last season while dominating the point race.

"We have a new partner as an owner -- more like a managing partner," Gaughan said. "With my dad managing the casinos, this will be a help for him, and she will also be announcing our sponsor."

Gaughan also said that David Pepper, who most recently spent the past five seasons as marketing director at Bobby Hamilton Racing, was Orleans Racing's new team manager.

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