Nemechek Earns Berth in Daytona 500 with Ninth-Place Finish in Qualifying Race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2007) -- Joe Nemechek did what he had to do. He qualified for Sunday's Daytona 500. The No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet driver charged to...
Nemechek Earns Berth in Daytona 500 with Ninth-Place Finish in Qualifying Race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2007) -- Joe Nemechek did what he had to do. He qualified for Sunday's Daytona 500.
The No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet driver charged to the front with a few laps remaining in Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying race to pull off a ninth-place finish overall. But more importantly for the Ginn Racing driverthe finish was first among the 13 non-qualified drivers vying for the two spots in NASCAR'sGreat American Race.
By virtue of finishing ninth, the complicated qualifying format will have Nemechek starting the Daytona 500 from the 20th position.
"Right now I don't care where I start, I am just thrilled that I have a starting position for the Daytona 500," said a jubilant Nemechek after the 60-lap, 150-mile race at Daytona International Speedway.
"The pressure was enormous," added Nemechek. "It's hard to sleep well at night when you have this on your mind. We have so many good things going in ourGinn organization. We have a new sponsor with CertainTeed and I am very happy for them that they will be in the biggest race of the year. When you qualify for the Daytona 500, a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. I feelgreat right now."
Nemechek made a bold call to pit when a caution came out with 10 laps remaining. He was running in 15th place and was one position away from qualifying for the 500.
"I felt we needed two tires to make a move at the end," offered "INemechek. t was one of those 50-50 calls, but this time it played in "Iour favor."
When the race was restarted with seven laps to go, Nemechek was four spots away from being in the top two among the non-qualified drivers.But the veteran racer from nearbyLakelandpoured it on at the end as the field was dicingfor position on the 2.5-mile oval.
"The last four laps were definitely exciting," explained Nemechek. "A lot of hairy things were going on and I made some pretty bold moves."
Nemechek was also quick to thank his Ginn Racing teammates who were also part of the second Duel race.
"I have great teammates in Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin and Regan Smith," noted Nemechek. "They were helping me out there and that means a lotto me."
Martin, who is in his first season with Ginn Racing, was impressed with Nemechek's performance.
"I'm very proud of Joefor getting in there," said Martin. "I sure wouldn't want to do what Joe had to do today and he just did an outstanding job."
-credit: ginn racing