Nemechek's Surge Continues; Finishes Fourth in Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 31, 2004) - Joe Nemechek's late-season surge in the Nextel Cup Series continued Sunday with an impressive fourth-place finish in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta...
Nemechek's Surge Continues; Finishes Fourth in Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 31, 2004) - Joe Nemechek's late-season surge in the Nextel Cup Series continued Sunday with an impressive fourth-place finish in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The U.S. Army driver has now posted three top-five finishes in the last four races and five top 10s in the last seven. Nemechek also remains the only driver who is not part of the Chase for the Nextel Cup to win a race since NASCAR's new championship format began seven races ago. His victory was at Kansas, Oct. 10.
"This U.S. Army/USG team is on fire," said Nemechek. "We had a great run today, but at the end it did get a little frustrating because I thought I had a shot at winning this race. On the last pit stop (Lap 312 of 325) we took two tires, which was an excellent call by Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief). But when the race restarted I got caught behind lapped traffic and I couldn't make a move. That prevented us from having any chance of finishing in the top three."
Though Nemechek didn't win the race, he was happy to see the Hendrick Motorsports team of Jimmie Johnson take the victory.
"Jimmie and the entire Hendrick Motorsports team did a great job and I couldn't be happier for them," said Nemechek. "That was good medicine for the organization and my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families of last week's tragedy. They were my friends and I will miss them dearly."
Nemechek, who started Sunday's race on the outside pole, struggled early with a loose-handling car and dropped back in the field. But after a few adjustments by the Army of One crew, Nemechek's 01 Chevrolet picked up steam and moved to the front. Nemechek took over fourth place on Lap 249 and ran in the top five for the majority of the remaining laps.
"Once we got the car's handling right, it was awesome," said Nemechek. "After the third stop (Lap 137) we didn't make any adjustments - we just took tires and fuel. That says plenty about the talent and communication we have on this team. We're enjoying the recent success, but not standing pat. We want to get to that next level."
Nemechek and the U.S. Army team will take their momentum to NASCAR's next stop, Sunday (Nov. 7) at Phoenix International Raceway.