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Park wants to drive a Dodge in Bud Shootout

The announcement Friday that Steve Park would wheel Orleans Racing's Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series narrowed his potential rides in the upcoming Budweiser Shootout.

But Park still has hopes of getting a shot into the Speedweeks special event set for Feb. 7.

"We are pursuing it and we want to make sure we can do it in a Dodge," Park said. "We have the support of Dodge and that means a lot to me.

"We've been talking to numerous teams that might be able to field a car for us. Even though we haven't heard a lot of things, things are not out of the perspective of us getting a chance to race in the Bud Shootout."

Park said finalizing his deal with team owner Michael Gaughan took so much of his attention that he set aside the entry for the Shootout he earned by winning two Bud Poles in 2003, one for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and one for Richard Childress Racing.

"We have been working hard on putting a deal together for that," Park said. "It wouldn't surprise me that myself is in a Dodge for the Budweiser Shootout, and I'm looking forward to that."

Park said a chance to win races and compete for a championship made him take the Orleans ride, which is directly supported by Dodge.

"After the last year and a half of dismal displays in the Nextel Cup Series, I'm looking forward to getting with a winning race team, as Brendan Gaughan has displayed this team is, in the past," Park said.

"I'm looking forward to getting back with a team that has a chance to win races and my main goal is to continue the winning tradition the Orleans Racing team has and to compete for the championship."

Park said he would not relocate to Las Vegas, but would rather maintain his residence in North Carolina.

"They've proven in the past they can win races from the West Coast," Park said. "We intend to prove in the future we can win races even though the driver is based on the East Coast."

Park said the single year deal he has with Orleans Racing should be plenty to re-establish his career. His reputation has suffered greatly since he returned to Winston Cup racing in 2002 after being injured at Darlington on Labor Day weekend 2001.

"It's not like I need to prove something," Park said. "We pretty much had won races from Busch right up to Nextel Cup. I've been racing since I was 10 years old and I have been lucky enough to win just about everywhere.

"I'd rather win races and be in a position to run good and win races than I would be to run good and finish 15th (in Nextel Cup). It's a situation where it's hard to get out of bed Sunday morning when you know that if all the stars line up, your best effort is going to be a 15th-place effort.

"I race to win and I'm looking forward to getting back to that."

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