MID-RACE TROUBLES DROP NEMECHEK TO A 16TH-PLACE FINISH IN DARLINGTON DARLINGTON, S.C. May 13, 2006) -- Joe Nemechek finished 16th in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race, but the U.S. Army driver felt the result could have been better had his 01 ...
MID-RACE TROUBLES DROP NEMECHEK TO A 16TH-PLACE FINISH IN DARLINGTON
DARLINGTON, S.C. May 13, 2006) -- Joe Nemechek finished 16th in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race, but the U.S. Army driver felt the result could have been better had his 01 Chevrolet run as strong the entire race as it did at the beginning and end.
Nemechek, who started 36th at Darlington Raceway, steadily made his way through the 43-car field at the beginning of the event and by Lap 60 of 367 he was running in the top 15.
Butan extremely loose race car during two runs mid-way through the race, caused Nemechek to lose positions on the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval.
"I think the U.S. Army Chevrolet was much better than the 16th place finish we were credited with," said Nemechek. There were two runs where we were way too loose and weren't able to drive off the corner and that's where we lost so much time."
With fifty laps to go in the 367-lap event, the team made its final pit stop and suddenly Nemechek found himself turning in lap times as good as the leaders.
"We put tires on and tightened up the Army Chevy a little bit and all of a sudden we were as fast as the leaders--the whole last fifty laps," said Nemechek. "Unfortunately it was too late by then--we weren't on the lead lap and we couldn't do anything with it."
"We'll take it though," continued Nemechek. "I'm proud of my guys and the job they did in the pits all night. We're trying to get our season back on track and hopefully this is a good step toward turning our year around. We have a mission to complete for our soldiers and we will get it done."
The next event for the Army team will be the Nextel All-Star Open Saturday night (May 20) at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The next points race will also be contested at Lowe's -- the Coca-Cola 600, Sunday, May 28th.