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Pre-Race Quotes From Steve Park

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The following pre-race notes and quotes are for Steve Park, driver of the No. 62 Orleans Dodge in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, prior to the inaugural UAW/GM 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway May 16.

The teamís primary Dodge for Mansfield is the same truck Brendan Gaughan won with at Milwaukee in 2003.

Since the last NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, Park has tested at Pikes Peak International Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. He also participated in the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.

This will be the fourth start for Steve Park with Orleans Racing and his eighth career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start. It will be the 61st NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start for the team.

Park is 21st in points after three races. He finished 27th in Daytona, 12th in Atlanta and 26th in Martinsville.

Park will sign autographs at Roeder Harley-Davidson in Sandusky, Ohio from 6-7 p.m. Friday, May 14. Afterward the dealership will play host its annual casino night benefiting the Perkins Township Police Department DARE program. Tickets for the charity event, called "Joker's Wild, Black (leather) & Blue (Denim) Bash", are $25 per person or $200 for a seat at Parkís Blackjack table. The winner of the Blackjack game with Park will be an honorary Orleans Racing crew member for the UAW/GM 250.

Park will sign autographs at the Dodge merchandise trailer Sunday, May 16 from 10 - 11 a.m.

Ohio connections: Clint Jennings, the teamís rear-tire carrier, is from Logan, Ohio. Associate sponsor Wyler.com is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

You often say you love Ohio. Why is that?: ďThe largest fan base I have is from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Iím a guy out of New York. You would think my largest fan base would be from New York or Connecticut. There are so many great race fans in Ohio. I think our association with Wyler.com and Roeder Harley-Davidson has increased the fan support. It has given us the opportunity to meet and greet more people up there, and it has broadened the fan base. Iím just really happy to go there and race in front of the fans and try out a new track. New tracks give you an equal playing field. Everybody will be in the same boat. We will only have one test date, and then we will practice and qualify. That puts everyone on a level playing field.Ē

The month off between races is over and the schedule is about to pick up. What are your thoughts on that?: ďIím so used to the NEXTEL Cup Series. We were so busy with race after race. So now it is going to be like getting back on schedule. I was never used to having the time off. I was just starting to learn how to spend time off, and now we are back to racing week in and week out. Iím happier racing. As a racer I would rather be racing every week.Ē

Talk about your tests at Pikes Peak International Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway? ďPikes Peak was a little struggle, but we learned what not to do. That is almost as important as learning what to do. We are still growing with new people we have on the team, like me and Johnny Allen. We learned what not to do, and then we went back to the shop and improved on those trucks. We tested two trucks at Pikes Peak, and, I think, we are taking one to Dover and one to Mansfield. That shows the confidence we have in our ability to make the trucks better. Then going to Texas for the first time in a truck after watching Brendan do so well there and win there year after year, I didnít know what to expect. We took Lonestar out on the track, and I donít think I ever went around Texas as good as I did in that truck. It put a big smile on my face. Iím really looking forward to going back to Texas for the race. I know that we can race hard and enjoy ourselves doing it. It will be a pretty exciting time for me going to Texas for my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.Ē

from Orleans Racing
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