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Steve Park Post Race Report - Texas

Race: Silverado 350 (Race 23 of 25)

Track: Texas Motor Speedway

Date: Friday, Nov. 4, 2005

Started: 13th

Finished: 16th

Laps Completed/Total Laps: 147/147

The No. 67 South Padre Island Toyota Tundra team headed to Texas Motor Speedway with high hopes. After last week’s wreck at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the first lap, which took the team out of the event, the No. 67 Bill Davis Racing crew felt there was only one goal and that was to rebound at Texas. Veteran driver Steve Park also knew the team had been working overtime to prepare a truck, which would be competitive at one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and wanted to reward them with a strong finish.

Thursday, the team unloaded its tropical blue Tundra and really struggled to find the speed needed in order to get into the race. Park told his crew the truck just would not turn in the corners. The team went to work trying a number of different combinations hoping it would hit on something, but nothing seemed to work. With only a few minutes to go in the practice session the team finally hit on something and Park shot up the speed chart. At the end of the two-hour practice session, the South Padre Island Tundra team was confident it had a machine that would be competitive during the race.

With NASCAR’s new qualifying rules, the No. 67 South Padre Island Tundra team knew it must get into the race on time. Park went out early during the Thursday evening qualifying session and ran a lap of 29.695 seconds, which locked him into the show in the 13th position. The team now safely in the race, could focus all of its energy on getting ready for Friday’s 147-lap event.

When driver Steve Park saw the green flag on Friday night at the Texas Motor Speedway he was hoping to stay out of trouble and grab South Padre Island a strong finish. It only took one lap for the caution flag to wave for an incident in turn two. Park came on the radio and told his crew his truck was a touch loose going into the corner and tight off. Crew Chief Derrick Finley told his driver he would come up with a plan.

Park held down the 13th position for the first 30 laps, but was still battling the loose and tight condition. When the caution flag came out on lap 39, the No. 67 South Padre Island team called its driver to pit road for service. The team changed four tires and filled the truck with fuel. A chassis adjustment was also made in hopes it would help correct Park’s truck.

The race was restarted on lap 43 and Park was back in the 16th position. Park came on the radio on lap 57 saying the adjustments helped, but he was still feeling the loose in, tight off condition. The caution came out for the third time on lap 60 and the team decided to come down pit road for a gas and go stop in hopes it would gain valuable track position. The gamble paid off and when Park reentered the race track he found himself in the fourth position.

Unfortunately new tires prevailed and Park’s old tires fell back to the middle of the pack. He told his crew chief the truck was now just a tick tight off the corners, but felt pretty good. The team knew it was in good shape because it still had a set of tires left to bolt on near the end of the race.

The team fell all the way back to the 23rd position with only a 11 laps to go, but the caution flag flew and the South Padre Island Tundra team decided to come down pit road to take its last set of tires. The team knew fresh tires were an advantage and felt it had a shot a top-15 finish.

Park restarted the race in the 20th position and navigated his Tundra all the way back up to 16th by the time the checkered flag waved.
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