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Steve Park Post Race Report - Bristol

There are plenty of things that you expect from a race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Non-stop pushing and shoving on the tight confines of the high-banked bullring, the deafening sound emitted by 36 race motors at full song and plenty of attrition from racing incidents that quickly turn ugly.

What you never expect to see are long stretches of green flag racing.

And 96 laps of uninterrupted racing during Saturday night’s O’Reilly 200 was exactly what Steve Park didn’t need.

Park’s qualifying lap around the 0.533-mile track put him 21st on the starting grid but just missed the cut off for a coveted frontstretch pit stall so the Orleans Racing pit crew knew they would have to perform at the top of their game.

Unfortunately, that long green flag run gave them just one opportunity to work their magic and according to Park they could have used just one more visit to pit road to make them legitimate contenders for their second victory of the season.

Park fought a tight condition from the drop of the green flag with and with traffic always an issue at the tricky little track, Park did an outstanding job just holding his ground until the first – and what turned out to be only – round of pit stops came during the fourth caution of the race.

Crew chief Charlie Wilson called for the right adjustments to loosen up the team’s No. 62 Orleans Dodge and when the race went back to green Park began a run toward the front.

Park made it up to 13th in the running order but as the laps wound down it became clear that he would never get a second shot at pit road to get that final adjustment he felt he needed to boost him to the next level.

The result was Park’s second consecutive 15th place finish and his fourth top-15 performance in the last five races.

“We were just too tight,” Park said after the tour’s annual stop at Bristol Motor Speedway. “We only had one shot to make it better, and it just wasn’t enough to make the Orleans Dodge turn good enough to run with the leaders.”

Park picked up a spot in the driver standings and will carry his 17th place standing to the next event, which will run at Richmond International Raceway in two weeks time.
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