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Park wins at Fontana

Steve Park is the 10th driver to win in all three of NASCAR's major series.

Driver is 10th with a victory in top three NASCAR series
The Associated Press

FONTANA, Calif. -- Steve Park completed his comeback from a serious head injury sustained in 2001, capitalizing when leader Mike Bliss ran out of gas with less than six laps remaining Friday night for his first Craftsman Truck Series victory.

The win at California Speedway was Park's first since taking the checkered flag in a Cup race at Rockingham in February 2001, making him the 10th driver to win races in each of NASCAR's top three series.

Park, 38, sustained a serious head injury in September 2001 in a crash at Darlington.

"I never doubted," Park said. "Other people doubted me, but I feel great and I can win races. I just needed an opportunity."

Truck owner Michael Gaughan, father of fellow truck competitor Brendan Gaughan, gave Park that chance.

"I thought I was going to be pretty much done with my career and they gave me another chance," said Park, whose best previous finish in a truck was third last spring at Las Vegas. "We thought we'd win some races last year, but we got shut out.

"I hate it for Mike Bliss. He had the truck to beat and we were trying to reel him in."

Former series champion Jack Sprague, who broke his left heel in a fall at home last week, started his truck to get the championship points, but gave up the seat to Bliss, another former series champ, during the first pit stop.

Bliss then drove from the rear of the field to grab the lead and appeared on the way to an easy victory, leading Park by half a straightaway on the 2-mile oval at the start of lap 95 of the 100-lap event.

Bliss suddenly slowed, though, and Park's Dodge swept into the lead, holding a nearly 2-second margin over runner-up Bobby Hamilton, the defending series champ and winner of the season-opener last week in Daytona.

Hamilton wound up second, 1.229-seconds -- about 20 truck-lengths -- behind. He was followed by Ricky Craven and rookie Todd Kluever, making only his second truck start. Bliss wound up a lap behind in 22nd.

David Starr, who led a race-high 57 laps, was caught up in a three-car crash on lap 78.
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