Earnhardt News
2000 Season

Intimidator intimidates Park

Steve Park may have won last weekend's Global Crossing @ The Glen, but he knows who is boss for team DEI.

Moorseville, N.C. (August 15, 2000)
Wonder why Steve Park didn't launch into one of those wild, festive, tire-smoking celebrations after winning his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race? It turns out he was under the influence of The Intimidator.

Spinning the tires and creating some doughnuts at the start-finish line is becoming a popular trend among race winners. But because the practice can also cause costly engine damage, it's not nearly as popular with the car owners. And at least one owner - Dale Earnhardt - has let his drivers know his opinion on the subject.

It seems Earnhardt issued a memo to his employees at Dale Earnhardt Inc. after Ron Hornaday, the company's NASCAR Busch Series driver, engaged in what turned out to be some expensive tire-smoking after winning an event at Nazareth, Pa., earlier this summer.

With that in mind, Park avoided doing anything potentially abusive to his DEI-owned Pennzoil Chevrolet after winning the Global Crossing @ The Glen on Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

"After Ron Hornaday won his first race, he did a wicked smoking burnout and ended up knocking the valve springs out of the motor," Park said. "Dale sent out a memo on Monday morning that if you did a burnout after winning, you were going to get fined. When I sat there maybe thinking about doing a burnout, I said, 'Man, I really don't think he'd fine me, but I'm not going to take the chance.' "

Instead, Park ended his cool-down lap by stopping his car at the start-finish line, hopping out, jumping on the roof, raising his arms in triumph and acknowledging the fans in his native New York state. He then jumped back in the car, fired it up and proceeded to Victory Lane.

"I really wanted to be different," Park said. "You see these guys doing burnouts and stuff. That's just not my style. I wanted to give something back to the fans in New York that have really given me the motivation and when I'm down have lifted me back up and have patted me on the back and told me I could win at this level. I wanted to give a little bit back to them without burning their eyes out with smoke."

That's not to say, however, that Park didn't consider doing just that and risking the ire of his boss.

"I think with our first Winston Cup win, if I had done a burnout, he probably wouldn't have levied the fine," Park said.

And that's not to say, however, that every DEI employee plans to comply with the directive from the top.

"I talked to Ron Hornaday," Park said, "and asked him if he won another Busch race if he was going to do another burnout. He said, 'Hell yeah. I'll just pay the bucks.' "



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