Daytona 500: Jerry Nadeau race report

Mixed Results for U.S. Army NASCAR Team. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2003) - Performance doesn't always translate into results. While the record book will show that Jerry Nadeau finished 28th in Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona 500 (109 of...

Mixed Results for U.S. Army NASCAR Team.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2003) - Performance doesn't always translate into results.

While the record book will show that Jerry Nadeau finished 28th in Sunday's rain-shortened Daytona 500 (109 of 200 laps completed), it won't show the strong performance that Nadeau and the U.S. Army No. 01 Pontiac displayed in NASCAR's season opener.

After starting 42nd, Nadeau jumped out of the gate quickly and was running in the top 20 by lap seven. He continued to run strong and when the race was red flagged for the first time on lap 63 due to rain, the U.S. Army driver was positioned in 15th place.

"We knew we had a good car at that point and felt the opportunity was there to have a great day of racing." said Nadeau. "The car was awesome and responded to whatever changes we made."

After a one-hour delay, action resumed on the 2.5-mile tri-oval, and within a few laps Nadeau was running in the top five. He continued to run with the lead group, but on lap 96 a pit road incident abruptly stopped the momentum of the U.S. Army car.

"We got blocked in by Kurt Busch," said Nadeau. "I backed up and couldn't get it into first (gear). Then he backed up and it was just a whole mess. When I finally got back onto pit road I got into Mike Skinner and tore up a fender. We came back in and fixed it. It was unfortunate."

The incident cost Nadeau 29 positions - he went from fifth to 34th. But with the right fender fixed, Nadeau was back picking off positions. However, the rain returned on lap 109, forcing NASCAR officials to once again red flag the race. A short time later, the race was called.

"When we got back running, the U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix was once again strong," said Nadeau. "I hate it for all of my guys because they all worked hard and did a superb job today. They deserved better. But, we'll just take it and go to Rockingham next week and try to win there."

Crew chief Ryan Pemberton also expressed mixed feelings.
"I'm disappointed with finish, but happy with the performance," said Pemberton. "In one breath, I'm mad that we were 28th, but in another breath, I'm happy how competitive we were. I go back and forth, but, overall, the team is jelling and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau , Kurt Busch