Jerry Nadeau's Rookie Diary -- Chapter 2 LAS VEGAS (Feb. 28, 1997) [Note: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the No. 13 FIRSTPLUS Financial Ford Taurus, will chronicle his first full season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in a special series for...
Jerry Nadeau's Rookie Diary -- Chapter 2
LAS VEGAS (Feb. 28, 1997) [Note: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the No. 13 FIRSTPLUS Financial Ford Taurus, will chronicle his first full season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in a special series for NASCAR Online. The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate will share his thoughts every two weeks as his first-year team, owned by Bill Elliott and Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, battles the odds, and the competition. Be sure to check back as he shares his thoughts with fans.]
"After a great time in Daytona, I could tell by the looks on the guys faces that they couldn't wait to get to Rockingham. That's what they do, race week to week.
"When we got there, things weren't really that great. But the guys did an excellent job and they worked really hard. We're rookies, we're still learning and coming into Winston Cup isn't easy being a new team. But we've got a great car and some great guys on this team. And we were able to salvage a 34th starting spot everybody was very excited, because I had to tuck myself in a little tighter just to get a spot. We were like 45th in practice and ended up in 34th, so everybody was happy with that.
"When it came down to Sunday and the race, we held our own. Things were going really good at the beginning of the race, but we got kinda got bumped in the back. But we kept on going. We missed a bunch of wrecks and we salvaged a 28th-place finish. It was pretty reasonable, considering how the car was running. We tried our best. And the one thing I want you guys to know out there is, being a rookie, we've got to spend so much time running a qualifying lap. And then once you get in the show, you've got to worry about the race setup. And we just didn't have enough time to get our race setup perfect. We did manage to get a 28th-place, the guys worked well and the folks at FIRSTPLUS were real pleased.
"Now, the next race we're looking forward to is Las Vegas. I'd never seen the place before. I've picked Bill's brain about what the track is like and stuff. It's pretty similar to a smaller California track. It turns a little tighter, but it's pretty similar. After we came to the track we unloaded and went through tech and we were OK. Again, we learning or learning as much as we can. We brought a brand new car here and as we're still practicing. We're about ready to get our car ready for qualifying. We aren't up to par right now, but we weren't at Rockingham either and we salvaged a good qualifying lap there. The key is to just get a good lap and then get it ready to race.
"A few of the guys here have been here before, and some of them even tested. We're still building cars, and our Las Vegas car hadn't been tested. And we've struggled with it. But, as we get more practice, we're getting better and better. We're only half a second off the first-place guy, that's like a blink of an eye. You've got 45 or 50 of the best teams here in Winston Cup and every guy here is a winner. You've just got to go out there and do the best you can and give 100 percent.
Source: NASCAR Online