Stephen Park (born August 23, 1966 in East Northport, New York) is a professional race car driver. Park is currently searching for an opportunity to race in NASCAR's national series while he maintains a full K & N Pro Series East schedule.
Park began racing not in an entry-level class, but in NASCAR Modifieds on Long Island as the son of longtime National Modified Championship contender Bob Park. After establishing himself in weekly Modified racing at Riverhead Raceway, he advanced to the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series. He won several races and became a championship contender before moving on to the Busch Series.
Steve Park came to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series as the driver for the start-up team of seven time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt. In the 1998 season, Park drove five races until an injury from a hard crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway sidelined him. Park returned later in the year.
Trouble would strike again in 2001, during the first race of the season the 2001 Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt would die in a last lap crash. Park would overcome this tragedy winning next weeks race the Dura Lube 400 at Rockingham in a photo finish with Bobby Labonte. While on his way to being a top ten fixture, Park had a violent crash in the Busch Series South Carolina 200 race at Darlington Raceway. Park bruised his brain and suffered broken ribs. Many say he still has not recovered from the injury. Nevertheless, he returned to racing six races in the 2002 season and had many accidents.
During the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. let Park go midway into the season, and he was effectively "traded" to Richard Childress Racing for Jeff Green, who took over the #1 car from Park with Park taking over the #30 AOL car for Childress. A few days later, he won the pole for the Winston All Star Open, but at the start of the race he jumped the start and had to start from the rear. He never made it to the next round. His best finish at RCR was a 5th place finish at Michigan that June, as he fought then teammate Robby Gordon for that position.
At the end of the 2003 season, Park announced he would not return to the #30 AOL car and would join the Craftsman Truck Series the following season. He joined Las Vegas-owned team Orleans Racing and piloted the #62 truck, vacated by Brendan Gaughan who was offered a ride in the #77 Kodak Nextel Cup car for Penske Racing. Although Steve never won a race in 2004, he finished 9th in CTS driver points, and was voted Most Popular Driver by his peers.
In 2005 Park won the Craftsman Truck Series American Racing Wheels 200, the second race of the season at California Speedway, but struggled the rest of the season with speeding penalties, getting caught a lap down for pitting and a caution comes out, etc. In October, right before the truck race in Martinsville, Steve Park and Orleans Racing parted ways due to Dodge pulling support and money to many truck teams.
|Bob Park | Steve Park|
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