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24th-Place Finish No Fun For Park

Steve Park was looking forward to the first short track race of the season as much as the next guy but after a frustrating weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the Kroger 250 is likely to make the driver’s 2005 list of “Races to Forget”.

With 250 laps on tap around the tiny short track, Park wasn’t overly concerned about his 22nd fastest qualifying effort but when the green flag dropped on Saturday afternoon he had an inkling that he would be in for a long day.

The No. 62 Jasper Engines / Orleans Dodge gravitated immediately toward a tight condition and no matter what the crew threw at it during pit stops the handling just never got better. Even wedge adjustments totaling eight rounds to each side did nothing to improve the truck’s performance.

Park did manage to avoid the various altercations that saw the yellow flag wave 11 times but he had no chance of competing with the frontrunners and took the checkered flag in 24th place.

“I don’t know what happened to the Orleans Dodge,” said Park. “It’s just not working like it did in qualifying and all we did was park it.”

Crew chief Charlie Wilson surmised that a broken shock or other part could have been the culprit and ordered all hands off the truck until he could get it back to the team’s Las Vegas shop and make a proper diagnosis.

Despite the disappointing finish, Park held on to his 16th position in the point standings and is just 70 points outside the top 10 with just four of 25 races in the books. The Craftsman Truck Series will take the next two weekends off before heading to Gateway International Raceway for the Dodge Ram tough 200 on April 30th.
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