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Park's Truck Series debut short, not sweet

By Lee Montgomery, Turner Sports Interactive February 13, 2004
11:29 PM EST (0429 GMT)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chances are Ken Weaver won't be getting a Christmas card this year from Steve Park - and Christmas is 10 months away.

Park was steaming mad at Weaver on Friday night after Park and Weaver wrecked on the backstretch of Daytona International Speedway before the halfway point of the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

Replays showed Weaver, a rookie on the NCTS, bumped the rear of Park's Dodge, sending both into the outside wall and bringing out a caution.

"It's not catching a break. You make your own luck," Park said. "Just being out there with Ken Weaver tonight just seemed like it was the unlucky thing.

"He's been watching too much TV. You can't bump-draft in these trucks. He's been watching the Cup cars. Maybe he's a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan or something and figures he can just bump-draft. These trucks just don't do that.

"He turned me sideways in the tri-oval, and I was able to save it and keep on going. I thought maybe he learned a little bit. And then he just turns me into the wall in the back."

Weaver, who later was involved in a 15-car wreck in the tri-oval, said he had little choice but to hit Park's rear bumper.

"He just slowed up," Weaver said. "(NASCAR is) telling me that I ran over him. I thought we were racing. He went left, went right, came back right -- I couldn't get away from him.

"I don't want to tear up anybody's equipment. That stuff on the frontstretch, when you've got guys on your bumper, you can only check up so much before you shorten the truck.

"I remember getting hit multiple times, and no one ever went to the trailer for that. I'm sure they'll make an example of me."

NASCAR penalized Weaver two laps for rough driving, telling Weaver to start at the end of the longest line the rest of the night. But it didn't last that long.

Park's night was filled with trouble. On lap 9, David Reutimann appeared to come down on Park, sending Park spinning through the tri-oval grass. Park was sitting backwards on pit road, but spun his truck around to go to his pit stall.

NASCAR didn't like that, and it didn't like that Park ran the stop sign at the end of pit road, so the sanctioning body penalized him two laps.

"They didn't like that we spun around," Park said. "We had a flat tire, and we couldn't go around two-and-a-half miles with a flat tire. I couldn't back up, and I figured I'd just flip it around and get back in the pit. I guess they didn't like that.

"Then they said I ran the stop sign, but the person running the stop sign neglected to put it out. They must've said they put it out. I've been doing this a long time. I kind of know when they put the stop sign out."

Park said he learned a lesson in his first NCTS race. He said he had a good truck, and despite having no radio communication, Park was confident he could run up front.

But then came Reutimann and Weaver.

"Maybe Darrell (Waltrip, Reutimann's team owner) needs to give (Reutimann) a driving lesson because he's probably not impressed with what he did there," Park said.

"It just took me out and took Bobby Hamilton out. I've got to remember where I'm at. The Craftsman Truck Series has got a lot of regulars and a lot of rookies, too. Maybe you have to really tip-toe around them. I learned a big lesson tonight, too."

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