Intimidator intimidates Park
(August 15, 2000)
Steve Park may have won last
weekend's Global Crossing @ The Glen, but he knows who is boss for team DEI.
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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