LATE CHARGE LIFTS NEMECHEK TO 12TH-PLACE FINISH AT BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 27, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek saved the best for last Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The U.S. Army driver made a late-race charge from the middle of the pack...
LATE CHARGE LIFTS NEMECHEK TO 12TH-PLACE FINISH AT BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 27, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek saved the best for last Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The U.S. Army driver made a late-race charge from the middle of the pack to post a 12th-place finish in the Sharpie 500.
The final result was Nemechek's career-best finish at the half-mile track.
"I'm the first to admit that Bristol hasn't been one of my better tracks," offered Nemechek, whose previous best finish at the high-banked short track was 16th in the 1995 summer race. "But tonight I kind of broke the jinx. It's been crazy for me here in the past and I will take this 12th-place finish with a smile."
Nemechek, who started 35th, was positioned in the low to mid 20s for the majority of the 500-lap race. But with 28 laps remaining, the veteran driver kicked it into high gear.
When the race was restarted following a caution on Lap 472, Nemechek was running in 20th place. He gained seven positions before the yellow flag flew for the last time on Lap 495. His U.S. Army Chevrolet managed to pick off one more position in the closing laps.
"We didn't need that last caution because Dale Jr. and the No. 97 (Kurt Busch) were sitting ducks," explained Nemechek. "But that's the way it goes and you take what you can get."
Nemechek said that he knew he had a good car, but considering his past history at the all-concrete bullring, he drove a semi-conservative race until the end.
"I got collected in too many wrecks here in the past so the mindset was a little different tonight," said Nemechek. "The Army Chevy was competitive, but we were stuck in the back for most of the race. I just had to be patient and use my head about what I did. I wanted to avoid the wrecks and take care of the equipment so I would have something at the end."
"The U.S. Army team is strong and I am proud of Ryan (crew chief, Pemberton) and the crew for the excellent adjustments and pit stops tonight," Nemechek continued. "It was another solid team effort."
Nemechek was also quick to credit the soldiers for the inspiration they continue to offer him.
"I had a great week -- a very inspiring one," said Nemechek. "I met 75 soldiers at Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday who just returned from Iraq. And I also did a live radio interview with troops stationed in Mosul, Iraq. Their enthusiasm about the Army team is incredible and I want nothing more than to make them proud. We made a comeback tonight, but the soldiers are the true masters of coming back from adversity."