Steve Park Remembers his Winning Way Around New Smyrna Speedway
by Jane Smith
Samsula, Fla (January 13, 2004) In spite of the cold damp night air, fans stood in line for autographs from Kyle Petty, Bobby Labonte, Ken Schrader, Steve Park, John Andretti, Scott Riggs, Dave Blaney, Mike Skinner, and Benny Parson at the Charity race for Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Fans began forming at the front gate about 11 a.m. to be first in line to see their favorite driver. Fans came with shirts, die-cast cars, pictures and anything and everything for the drivers to sign.
While the autograph session was going, the local Sportsman, Super Stock and Strictly Stocks entertained the crowd. Winning the heats were Mike Trocki in Sportsman, Jason Foster and Jeff Colburn in Super Stocks and Farris Crews in Strictly Stocks.
Mike Trocki had the pole for the Sportsman feature and won from the pole. Since most of our Sportsman are getting ready for the new season which opens March 13, only a few showed up for the charity event. Trocki jumped to the early lead on the green over Cory Kaiser, Mike Soukup and Tom Gamache. On lap 4, Mike Soukup and Cory Kaiser got spun around in turns 3 and 4 both neither was hurt. Kaiser did a little pitting for some damage but was able to return to racing.
Kaiser spins after hitting some fluid on the track but is able to continue. Trocki holds on for the win over Mike Soukup, Cory Kaiser, and Tom Gamache.
The second feature saw Farris Crews on the pole for the Strictly Stock show. Crews jumped to the lead on the green followed by Kerry Payne, Roger Ladieu, Mike Dohm, and Chuck "Junkyard Dog" Rush.
Ladieu passes Payne for second with Payne slipping back to third. Crews takes the checkered followed by Roger Ladieu, Kerry Payne, Mike Dohm, and Chuck Rush.
Now it was time for the "Big Boys" to come out. Kyle Petty had the pole in the Victory Junction Gang Camp car. On the outside pole was Ken Schrader in Mike Murphy's No. 26. Bobby Labonte drove the No. 7 of Matt Griffin. In Randy Dye's No. 43 Dodge car was Mike Skinner. Steve Park drove Charlie Merz's No. 7. We had to No. 14 cars, both owned by Mike Murphy, with Scott Riggs and John Andretti behind the wheel. Only one driver was not able to compete because of injury from the day's testing at Daytona, Dave Blaney. Instead the car owner went out for a few laps with the big boys who was Wade Lynn.
The crowd were on their feet giving the drivers a big wave. Petty jumped to the lead on the green with Schrader, Skinner, Riggs and Labonte in the top five. Skinner tries to get under Petty for the lead and gets loose taking out Riggs, Schrader, himself, and turning Labonte around. Labonte was the only car able to return to the field.
On the restart, it was Steve Park in the lead followed by Andretti, Petty, and Labonte. Although Petty tried more than once, he could not shake Park who held on and took the checkers over Petty, Labonte and Andretti. The winner was well versed with New Smyrna Speedway having competed for three years with the NASCAR Tour Type/SK Mods during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Fans were on their feet.
The last feature race of the night was the Super Stocks. On the pole was Ron Whaley but it was Charlie Collins who jumped to the lead on the green followed by Jeff Colburn, Kevin Auger, Jason Foster and Ron Whaley.
Michael Williams put the speed on and passes Whaley taking over fifth. The yellow comes out for Jim Dyson who spun on the backstretch. The yellow remains out for the NASCAR drivers to leave the pits. The race restarts with Collins in the lead and a very hot Colburn on his tail. But going into turns 3 and 4, G.T. Maloney, Michael Williams, Rob Watford, and Ron Whaley touch taking all out and into the pits except for Maloney who is able to pit for repairs and return to racing.
On the restart, Collins has his hands full of Colburn who is determined to take over the number one spot. Colburn finally makes the pass and takes the checkered followed by Charlie Collins, Kevin Auger, Jason Foster, and Tim Edmundson.
The next race at New Smyrna Speedway will be the Pete Orr Memorial Orange Blossom 125 on Janaury 31 with all FASCAR divisions racing.
NEW SMYRNA SPEEDWAY JANUARY 13
VICTORY JUNCTION GANG CAMP LATE MODELS
1. #7 Steve Park
2. #43 Kyle Petty
3. #7 Bobby Labonte
4. #14 John Andretti
5. #43 Mike Skinner
6. #26 Ken Schrader
7. #14 Scott Riggs
8. #28 Wade Lynn