NEMECHEK NOT PLEASED WITH DAYTONA 500 PERFORMANCE; FINISHES 13TH DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's toughest critic was himself after finishing 13th in Sunday's 47th running of the Daytona 500. "I really feel I let my U.S.
NEMECHEK NOT PLEASED WITH DAYTONA 500 PERFORMANCE; FINISHES 13TH
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's toughest critic was himself after finishing 13th in Sunday's 47th running of the Daytona 500.
"I really feel I let my U.S. Army team down by messing up in the pits," said Nemechek, who slid through his pit box twice during the NASCAR Nextel Cup season opener.
Though the pit road incidents sent Nemechek to the back of the field each time, he and the Army of One Team fought through the adversities and nearly pulled off a strong finish.
When the flag dropped for the final green-white-checkered restart Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet was 12th and in the thick of the lead pack of cars.
"I thought I was going to salvage this race with a top-10 or even a top-five finish, but I couldn't pick the right lane at the end," said Nemechek. "I got boxed in again and couldn't make a move."
Nemechek drove his backup Chevrolet because his primary machine was totaled when he got collected in a multi-car accident during Thursday's Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race.
"Make no mistake, the U.S. Army Chevy was good today, but we never had the rhythm," offered Nemechek. "We had a couple of great runs and then I messed up by sliding through the pit box twice.
"We were all over the map and always battling back from the rear of the field. But considering how erratic we were today a 13th-place finish is okay..and I mean just okay. We're a much better superspeedway team than what we showed."
Jeff Gordon won the race. He was followed to the checkered flag by Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Scott Riggs and Jimmie Johnson.
The next stop for the Nextel Cup Series will be Sunday (Feb. 27) at California Speedway in Fontana.