Stefanik Gets Parked In Battle At The Beach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Do you remember Steve Park?
Well, get reacquainted for a moment. The former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner from Long Island won Monday night’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour portion of the Battle at the Beach at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Park led only the final half lap after punting seven-time series champion Mike Stefanik out of the lead exiting the fourth turn on the final lap.
Park, who started 26th, earned $20,000 for his first Whelen Modified Tour triumph in 16 years. Park believed he got hit from behind, sending him into Stefanik.
“Mike is a good friend of mine, but I never meant to get in the back of Mike,” Park said. “I knew the way this race was playing out that it was going to get aggressive at the end. We got pile-drived from behind. I guess they watched the race last night and we just persevered.
“And when he got sideways we got around the outside of him and back on the gas coming to the checkered. Sometimes you are better to be lucky than good.”
Stefanik, not surprisingly, didn’t buy Park’s explanation.
“Yeah, right,” the 54-year-old Stefanik told the SPEED viewing audience. “I don’t want to say anything because I am going to say the wrong thing here because I am that pissed. This is just bull—-.”
It was a fitting ending to a beat-and-bang affair that saw 17 yellow flags, two red flags and a green-white-checkered finish.
Polesitter Todd Szegedy led the first 126 laps of the temporary four-tenths-mile, but dropped out with a broken suspension on lap 127. Stefanik inherited the lead and held off the challenges of Kyle Larson until he missed a shift on a restart, collecting Woody Pitkat in the process, setting the stage for Park’s last-lap victory.
Eric Goodale finished second with Ted Christopher, Doug Coby and Patrick Emerling rounding out the top five.
Steve Park, Eric Goodale, Ted Christopher, Doug Coby, Patrick Emerling, Justin Bonsignore, Brian Loftin, Cole Powell, Ken Heagy, Dalton Baldwin, Ron Silk, Woody Pitkat, Mike Stefanik, J.R. Bertuccio, Burt Myers, Kyle Larson, Gary Fountain Sr., Bryan Dauzat, Luke Fleming, Jason Myers, Todd Szegedy, Jeremy Gerstner, Donny Lia, Bobby Santos III, Danny Bohn, Ryan Preece, John Smith, Matt Hirschman, Jamie Tomaino, Brandon Ward, Andy Seuss, Dave Brigati, Jimmy Zacharias.