Atlanta: Joe Nemechek race report

MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION STYMIES ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE BY NEMECHEK ATLANTA (March 20, 2005) -- For the third straight race Joe Nemechek saw a strong performance turn into a nightmarish finish. While running solidly in the top 10 during ...

MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION STYMIES ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE BY NEMECHEK

ATLANTA (March 20, 2005) -- For the third straight race Joe Nemechek saw a strong performance turn into a nightmarish finish.

While running solidly in the top 10 during Sunday's Golden Corral 500, Nemechek's day came to an end with fewer than 50 laps remaining as a result of a punctured radiator to his No. 01 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet. He was credited with a 35th-place finish.

When Nemechek radioed the crew on Lap 276 of 325 to tell them the water pressure was rising he was running in seventh place and moving forward on Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.54-mile oval.

"We're not sure why there was a hole in the radiator -- there are many reasons for it, including debris on the track," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "We'll go over everything at the shop this week. We had a strong car all day and Joe drove a great race. It's a shame we're not getting the finishes we deserve."

Nemechek, who was running in the top five for a good portion of the race until back-to-back pit road penalties (hitting a cone and speeding) cost him valuable track position, fought his way back to the front and had one of the fastest cars on the track when the radiator malfunction occurred.

"I don't know what to say except our finishes do not reflect our performances," said Nemechek. "We've been strong every race but can't seem to get to the end. The incidents that stymied us in the last three races were beyond our control. We should have had top-five finishes in each of those races. This is difficult to accept, but we'll fight through it."

At the second race of the year (California Speedway), Nemechek led the most laps and had a comfortable lead on the field when his engine expired. Last week in Las Vegas the 01 Chevy was running third when Nemechek came in for his final pit stop but ended up 19th due to a set of tires that affected the car's handling.

"What is really disappointing today is our car was at its best just before we encountered the overheating problem. I was looking for a top-five or better finish," said Nemechek.

The Nextel Cup Series will have Easter weekend off and will resume action Sunday, April 3 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek