Daytona II: Joe Nemechek race report

NEMECHEK MAKES COMEBACK TO FINISH 15TH AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek had mixed feelings about his 15th-place finish in the rain-delayed Pepsi 400, which started at 11 p.m. ET Saturday and completed at 1:45 a.m.

NEMECHEK MAKES COMEBACK TO FINISH 15TH AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek had mixed feelings about his 15th-place finish in the rain-delayed Pepsi 400, which started at 11 p.m. ET Saturday and completed at 1:45 a.m. Sunday. The U.S. Army driver's performance on the famed Daytona International Speedway could be classified as a three-act drama.

Act 1 was a superlative performance by Nemechek, who easily positioned himself in the top five for nearly the first half of the race.

"That was the best drafting car we've ever had," said Nemechek, who qualified fifth for the mid-summer classic. "I was having a lot of fun challenging for the lead. I could put the Army car any place I wanted to -- it was that good."

Act II went from being superlative to devastating when Nemechek's very fast 01 Army Chevrolet got clipped hard in the right-front fender by Michael Waltrip's spinning car on Lap 72 of 160. The incident not only shoved Nemechek to the rear of the field, it also put him out of the draft and eventually one lap down.

"It was just unfortunate that Michael had a flat tire," said Nemechek. "His car bounced off the wall and came back down and hit me. I didn't see him -- I thought I was going by him and the next thing I knew is that I got clobbered on the right side. We went from being in position to challenge for the lead to a position of being lapped."

Act III eventually went back to Nemechek's favor. In the same manner of how his sponsor takes to adversity, the Army of One NASCAR team came through in the end with a lot of fight and grit to finish 15th. A savvy pit strategy by crew chief Ryan Pemberton and a tenacious driving job by Nemechek salvaged a decent weekend for the Army team at the World Center of Racing.

"Once we got the jagged edges on the right fender fixed and didn't have tire rub, the Army car was really fast again," said Nemechek. "One side of me says we deserved a much better result, but the other side says we'll take it because it appeared for a while we were looking at finishing somewhere in the low 30s."

"The other good news for the Army team is that we have this superspeedway car in one piece," Nemechek continued. "We just need to do a little repair and it will be ready for Talladega for the fall race. I can't wait to get back into this machine at Talladega."

The next stop on the Nextel Cup Series will be Sunday (July 10) -- the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Joe Nemechek