Atlanta II: Joe Nemechek race press conference

JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW/DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd HOW STRONG WAS YOUR CAR AND DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR KURT BUSCH? "This was definitely a good day for the whole UAW/DELPHI Chevy team. The guys have been working really hard.

JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW/DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd

HOW STRONG WAS YOUR CAR AND DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR KURT BUSCH?

"This was definitely a good day for the whole UAW/DELPHI Chevy team. The guys have been working really hard. This is the same car that we started running at Kansas. Actually, we ran it at Darlington and it didn't drive very good. So the guys in the fab shop kind of cut it all up and re-did it. We hit on a good balance point for myself as far as the aero part of it.

"At Charlotte, we got up there in the top 14 but we lost an engine. But we thought we had a car that was capable of winning the race. But here, starting in the back, you've got to get through all that stuff and we did. My car was really, really good on new tires. It was awesome on new tires. I think we were a little bit better than Kurt (Busch). But whenever you can get out front, you're a little bit better than when you're behind. We just needed a few more laps. We led a good portion of the race.

"On that one green flag stop, I know Kurt was behind us. Somehow he got ahead of us. I don't know if he short-pitted and made up some time or what. He got ahead of us so when the caution came out we were behind him. That's how we finished up the race."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO ROCKINGHAM AS THE DEFENDING WINNER

"I'm definitely looking forward to it. Last year, we had a really dominate car. It was one of those weekends that when you get something like that you just can't be dumb and make a mistake and give it away.

"We really haven't really tested anywhere since I've come over to the No. 25 team. But we went to Rockingham last week and burned up 15 sets of tires making qualifying runs and just trying to learn about the car. This was one of the first cars that we actually cut up to get the aerodynamics better on it and the thing drives good. So we cut a couple more up and took them (to Rockingham). They were a little bit different. One of them drove better than the other. We had a good two days there. We learned a lot. In race trim, I thought I was awesome. I had all the same feels I had last year. Jeff Gordon was there and he was running equal times. I know he's struggled there the past few races so I think we're going to really be good."

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE NO. 25 TEAM?

"Well, I guess this is going to be a good start here, huh? We'll see. We're leaving here and going down to Homestead tonight for a two-day test. And when I get back Wednesday, we'll go down there and see what's going to happen. There are some decisions that have to be made here really quick and I think it's to the point where Hendrick Motorsports is going to make some decisions. I can't speak on their behalf. But I look forward to staying there if they want to have me there. We've just got to get everything worked out and go from there."

COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE $5 PRANK YOUR CREW PLAYED ON YOU?

"It all goes back to the Busch race yesterday. We ran out of gas there with a lap and a half to go with an eight-second lead. I was trying to conserve, but ran out of gas. Whenever you run out of gas, you always get the gas can jokes. So when I walked in this morning, they all had dollar bills and five dollar bills and so I grabbed them all. When I went to my car before the race, there was another $5 bill taped on the steering wheel for gas money. You've got to have a comedian in every group."

HOW ARE YOU ADJUSTING TO THE NO. 25 TEAM AND ARE YOU RUNNING ALL NEW EQUIPMENT?

"It was pretty interesting. When I showed up there, they had 18 cars sitting there finished and built and ready to go to the race track. And we just struggled. We struggled and I got caught up in some wrecks.

"It was really, really a disappointing to how I went over there. I thought I was going to run good, but it was just really hard to drive the race cars. I think that was part of the problem that Jerry Nadeau had.

"So we started working on that. To a point there, we got them better. And then NASCAR adjusted the rules and we got them all messed up again. You couldn't drive them. So after Darlington, we tuned this one up but we still had Richmond, Dover, and somewhere else to go. We made it through those races okay. We were not running in the front, but about mid-pack. I told everybody when we got to Kansas - after they chopped up on this car - that we were going to run good. And sure enough..... Since then, it's the same car. Actually we're going to have a car like this for all the rest of the races. It's just taken us a while to find out what I need in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. What do I need, downforce-wise, on the front and on the back? What do we need chassis-wise for springs and stuff? We do things so much different than we've done any other place that I've been. It's been a disappointing season. But since Kansas, things have really turned around."

AT ANY POINT TODAY, DO YOU THINK NASCAR PUSHED THE LIMITS WITH THE RAIN?) "I think they did a good job. It started raining there and they were fixing to re-start it. Everybody complained a little bit and they left us under caution until it was right. You can tell, pretty much, what it's going to do. It always makes your mind think twice when you've got raindrops coming down."

DID ANYTHING HAPPEN AT THE MID-WAY POINT OF THE RACE THAT AFFECTED THE FINISH?

"That's hard to answer. We took four tires all day long. Early in the race, they had a caution on lap eight or nine. We came in and took four tires and filled up with gas then. We went back to the back, but got to 18th or 19th spot when the next caution came out. The car was just driving great. We just put gas in on that stop there and got us up to third place. It was a little bit of a gamble there because we had 10 or 12 laps on our tires compared to what everybody else had. But my UAW/DELPHI Chevy drove so good that it didn't really matter."

-team monte carlo-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Joe Nemechek , Jerry Nadeau
Teams Hendrick Motorsports