NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Steve Park Returns to Series

When the Camping World Truck Series takes the track for the Mountain Dew 250, Steve Park will make his return to the CWTS. Park will attempt to qualify the No. 02 Koma Unwind/CorrieStottRacing.com Chevrolet. The 42-year-old driver made his last Truck Series start in 2006 at Kansas Speedway for HT Motorsports where he finished 14th.

Last week, we debated in Mirror Driving as to whether there was a set timeframe that was too long to be away from one of NASCAR’s top-three series. The opinions were mixed, but I don’t believe in such a thing.

For one thing, Park is not trying to make a Sprint Cup Series start in a car that’s completely different than what he raced last in the series. He’s attempting to qualify for the CWTS, a series that is designed to help drivers develop their talent and learn the tracks.

Aside from that, Park has not been out of the racing world entirely. He spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons racing in the Camping World East Series full-time. In 24 starts, Park has one win (Adirondack International Speedway in August) and 15 top-10 finishes.

Because he has previous experience in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series, some may expect the 42-year-old driver to find instant success at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. But no one should expect Park to come in and outrace guys like Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner or Ron Hornaday Jr. and take the win Saturday afternoon for the simple reason that he has been out of the series for so long. The ride became available through a personal friendship with Brian Weber, CEO of Koma Unwind.

“Steve and I have known each other for quite some time. We raced together when we were both just kids, and I am pleased that he has agreed to get in the seat for us at Talladega,” Weber said. “The Truck Series continuously puts on great shows at the superspeedway tracks, and we can not wait to see what Steve can do with the Koma Unwind truck.”

Park will definitely have his work cut out for him to make it to the checkers Saturday afternoon. First he has to qualify for the race on time because the No. 02 Chevrolet sits outside the Top 30 in the owner standings. Then if he makes the race, Park will have to contend with whatever may happen on the track between taking the green at the beginning and when the checkered flag flies at the end. The Truck Series is notorious for late-race cautions as drivers scramble for position, and twice in three races, there have been seven cautions, the most at the speedway for the series.

Father-Daughter Duo Set to Make History

As the CWTS rolls into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, father-daughter racing duo Chrissy and Mike Wallace will make CWTS history. The Mountain Dew 250 will mark the first ever event where a father-daughter duo will compete together in a national series event.

Mike Wallace will pilot the No. 48 Rockingham Speedway Polar Bear 150 Chevrolet fielded by Andy Hillenburg, In 2008, Wallace finished fifth at Talladega and has four Camping World Truck Series wins, including the inaugural race at Daytona International Speedway in 2000.

Mike’s daughter Chrissy will pilot the No. 08 Chevrolet for SS Green Light Racing. She made her CWTS debut at Martinsville last march and finished 18th, her career best in six starts. The 21-year-old driver’s only start at Talladega Superspeedway came in 2008 when she finished ninth in the ARCA Re/Max Series race.

Did You Know?

  • Austin Dillon will attempt to make his first career CWTS start at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday afternoon? Dillon made his Truck Series debut at Iowa Speedway earlier this season and finished 12th after starting ninth.
  • In three races at Talladega, the margin of victory has never exceeded one tenth of a second? The largest came in 2008 when Bodine edged Hornaday Jr. by 0.074 seconds.
  • Robert Richardson Jr. will attempt to pull double duty at Talladega Superspeedway? He will attempt to qualify on time for the CWTS race Saturday afternoon and will also try to make his first career Sprint Cup Series start for Tommy Baldwin Racing.
  • Circle Bar Racing will trade in the blue and orange colors this weekend and share some Halloween spirit on their Fords this weekend? The No. 10, piloted by James Buescher, and the No. 14, piloted by Rick Crawford, will feature black and orange paint schemes.
  • Kyle Busch returns to the series behind the wheel of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota Saturday afternoon? The Mountain Dew 250 will mark the 300th CWTS start for Billy Ballew Motorsports.

Quotable

“Being smart is more important than luck, and so in understanding how to use the draft to your advantage instead of your disadvantage. Talladega is alot about using patience in the draft and understanding you’re not just going to pull out and pass; you have to use other trucks to make your passes. If you get too anxious and rambunctious, you end up getting in trouble.” – Todd Bodine

“I’m really excited to be heading up to Talladega. It’ll definitely be one of the biggest thrills of my career to say I raced there. It’s really cool because I’ll be in the No. 3 truck and that number means alot to the great fans that show up at ‘Dega. I’m also excited to get the chance to run where my grandfather (Richard Childress) started his entire racing career 40 years ago.” – Austin Dillon

“Racing against my dad, it’s something that we’ve always wanted to do It’s something that means a lot to me, and I think it’s a good thing for me and him both, and hopefully I’ll wind up beating him.” – Chrissy Wallace

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