Driver suffers concussion after bizarre accident
Updated: Sunday September 02, 2001 9:18 AM
By Stephen Thomas, CNNSI.com
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Steve Park suffered a concussion, bruising to the left side of his neck and a possible fracture or dislocation of the left sterno-clavicular joint, in a freak, caution-flag crash in the South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.
Park was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for observation. Park was said to be alert and communicating as he was being transported by helicopter to the hospital.
Kenny Wallace drove Park's Winston Cup car in Saturday's Happy Hour, but no announcement was made on who might fill in for Park in Sunday's Southern 500.
Park was injured in an accident that occurred as the field prepared to take the green flag on lap 20 of the 147-lap race. As the field began to line up in preparation for the restart, Park's Chevrolet inexplicably veered to its left as it exited turn 2. Park's car roared across the track at just the instant that Larry Foyt was racing toward the front in preparation for the race's restart. Foyt, with nowhere to go, plowed squarely into the left side of Park's car.
That Park sustained no major injuries was welcome news. Initially, the rescue efforts around Park's car recalled the somber scenes around other recent, fatal accidents. Workers held up blue tarps around the car to shield it from onlookers in the Brasington grandstands that sit outside turn 2. Still others shooed away people and reporters who had gathered along the inside wall in an effort to learn the severity of the crash.
The extreme caution was, according to reports, primarily a result of the fact that Park was unconscious, as well as a residue of the circumstances surrounding the circumstances surrounding the death of Dale Earnhardt. Park remained in his car for almost 20 minutes before finally being extracted when workers cut away the roof of his car.
Park's Winston Cup crew chief said he didn't know if Park would be able to race in Sunday's Southern 500.
"Right now, we're taking it a little bit at a time," Paul Andrews said. "Kenny Wallace will practice the car in Happy Hour. Other than that, we're taking it one step at a time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.