PARK TO DRIVE NO. 62 DODGE FOR ORLEANS RACING
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2004 – NASCAR veteran Steve Park has joined Orleans Racing as the full-time driver of the No. 62 Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, team officials announced Jan. 9.
Park replaces Brendan Gaughan, who will drive full time in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for Penske-Jasper Racing.
“The success of this team is dependent upon the success of each individual from mechanics to drivers,” said team owner Michael Gaughan. “We have assembled a talented group over the years, and we think Steve is a perfect fit for this championship-level team. He has proven he can win races, and we expect he will win races for us this year.”
Park, a native of East Northport, N.Y., most recently competed for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. In 2003, he earned three top-10 finishes, one top-five finish and two pole positions.
In his seven-year career in NASCAR's premier series, Park started 181 races, earning two wins (Watkins Glen 2000; Rockingham 2001) and four poles. He also scored 12 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes.
“It is my privilege to drive for Orleans Racing and Dodge,” Park said. “I enjoy the Craftsman Truck Series. It is one of the most competitive forms of racing. This team is certainly one of the most competitive in the sport, and I look forward to challenging for the championship this year.”
Park, 36, has three starts in the Craftsman Truck Series. He earned the pole at Watkins Glen in 1996 and competed at Indianapolis Raceway Park that year and Phoenix the following year.
He will test Jan. 10-12 at Daytona International Speedway and will make his racing debut with the team Feb. 13 in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona.
Orleans Racing also will run a limited schedule with the No. 61 Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series. A driver announcement will be made in the near future. The team will continue to field the No. 08 Dodge in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series with reigning series champion Scott Lynch behind the wheel.
Team founder Gaughan, who also is the chairman of the board for Coast Resorts in Las Vegas, remains the primary owner of the Las Vegas-based team but has restructured much of the management.
“We also are pleased to announce new additions which will make the team even stronger as they race for the championship,” Gaughan said. “Agnes Ferretti is now the managing general partner for Orleans Racing. She has a great deal of experience and enthusiasm. As I spend more time focusing on Coast Casinos, Agnes will take an active role in running the team. David Pepper is the new team manager. He brings extensive motorsports experience and will manage the day-to-day operations of the team. The only missing component is a crew chief, and we are actively searching for someone who will reach the standard set in the past.”
Born in the Philippines, Ferretti becomes the first minority female owner in NASCAR’s 55-year existence.
“This partnership is a dream come true for me,” Ferretti said. “Orleans Racing is a first-rate organization that is of championship caliber. We have assembled a group of talented and experienced sports professionals, so we will be one of the premier race teams in this sport.”
Ferretti, 36, has 15 years of experience with top level sports and entertainment companies, including deals with the National Football League, Disney, Touchtone Pictures, Baywatch, Cap Cities/ABC, AT&T, Coca-Cola and Toys “R” Us. She lives in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.
Pepper joins Orleans Racing after five years as director of marking for Bobby Hamilton Racing. He also has experience in the NASCAR Busch Series handling public relations for Brewco Motorsports. A native of Owensboro, Ky., Pepper is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and recently relocated to Las Vegas.