Fontana: Joe Nemechek race report

NEMECHEK'S DAY RUINED BY ANOTHER EARLY INCIDENT FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2006) -- For the second straight week Joe Nemechek's U.S. Army Chevrolet was a magnet for flying debris. As was the case last week in the Daytona 500, Sunday's incident at...

NEMECHEK'S DAY RUINED BY ANOTHER EARLY INCIDENT

FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2006) -- For the second straight week Joe Nemechek's U.S. Army Chevrolet was a magnet for flying debris. As was the case last week in the Daytona 500, Sunday's incident at California Speedway also happened early in the race.

"I don't think the race was 10 laps old when I heard a thump," said Nemechek, who was credited with a 27th- place finish in the second Nextel Cup race of the season. "I didn't think much of it at the time, but it turned out to be very costly. I don't know what hit us, but whatever it was, it caused extensive damage to the right-front fender and the air dam."

"Last week we were aero dynamically handicapped on the first lap and today it was by Lap 10," continued Nemechek. "This U.S. Army car really hasn't had a chance to show its stuff."

Nemechek, who qualified eighth and had an excellent practice session in race trim conditions Saturday, was feeling upbeat prior to the start of the Auto Club 500. But after that mysterious piece of debris struck the 01 car, Nemechek started to slide back in the field. He was running in 27th place at the time of the first pit stop on Lap 30.

"There weren't enough cautions to get the damage fixed early in the race," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "By the time we got the car working better, it was late in the race and we were already two laps down. It's a shame what has happened to us the past two weeks. But we'll bounce back. We've been through these bad streaks before."

The Nextel Cup Series will have next weekend off. The next race is scheduled for March 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

-mb2m

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek