Nadeau, Spencer win qualifiers at Charlotte By Matthew Leach CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2000) Jerry Nadeau cruised. Jimmy Spencer had a battle. But the result was the same for each, as the two Northeastern drivers picked up wins in the No Bull...
Nadeau, Spencer win qualifiers at Charlotte
By Matthew Leach
CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2000) Jerry Nadeau cruised. Jimmy Spencer had a battle. But the result was the same for each, as the two Northeastern drivers picked up wins in the No Bull 25 qualifying races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. As a result, Nadeau will start from the pole in the Winston Open, while Spencer will start on the outside of the front row.
Nadeau started the first No Bull 25 in fourth place by virtue of practice speeds earlier in the day. He charged to second place by lap six, and roared past Geoffrey Bodine when engine problems knocked Bodine off the pace.
From there Nadeau ran away, building a margin of nearly three seconds before crossing the finish line 1.796 seconds ahead of Sterling Marlin. The margin was deceptively small because Nadeau was held up trying to get around Dave Marcis on the final lap.
It was Nadeau's first win in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series car.
"I've won ever since I was four-and-a-half years old," said Nadeau, who is in his first year driving Hendrick Motorsports' No. 25 Chevrolets. "It seems like I've won something every year of my life. When I got into Winston Cup racing, it's been tough.
"This is a tough series. Whenever you win something, whatever it is, it really boosts your emotions back up and gives you confidence in the race car. I'm not saying I don't have enough confidence if I don't win a race. It just makes things a lot better for the team. These guys put in so many hours in these cars. To win a race, whatever it is, it puts a smile on their faces."
Behind Marlin in third place was Ricky Craven, who started the race from the pole. Roush Racing teammates Kevin Lepage and Chad Little rounded out the top-5 finishers in the first event.
The second No Bull 25, which had a much more star-studded field, also proved to be a much more competitive affair.
Mike Skinner, who won a No Bull 25 last year, roared from the pole to take an early lead. Skinner battled Ricky Rudd and Steve Park before Park took the lead on the seventh of 25 laps.
Park looked like he might run away with the race, but "Mr. Excitement" was working his way up through the field. Spencer, who started eighth, caught Park by lap 15.
He attempted to make a move low and was cut off by Park, but when he made a move high in Turns 3 and 4, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver couldn't hold him off any longer.
Spencer began to pull away, but Park didn't fall too far behind and was able to make a charge over the final laps. It wasn't enough, though, and the 1996 winner of the Winston Open put himself in position to win the event once again.
"My car was a lot better than their car was," Spencer said of Park's Pennzoil Chevy. "Their car was really loose and that's rare. Usually the track will get real tight under these conditions (nighttime) and you'll see that bottom groove be a big benefactor. Tonight it wasn't really a benefactor for them because they just could not get in the throttle quick enough."
"We needed about 10 more laps," Park said, then backed off. "Nah, not really. If it had been tomorrow night maybe I would have tried something different. When he (Spencer) passed me, my car was loose. Then I followed his line because he's got more experience here than I do, and I was able to pull back up on him. It tightened my car up. Maybe I learned something tonight."
Park finished second, just .174-second behind Spencer. Rudd came home third, Robert Pressley fourth and Skinner fifth.
The starting field for the Winston Open is determined entirely by the results of the No Bull 25s, with the finishers in the first race starting in the odd number positions and the finishers in the second race starting in even-numbered positions.