Daytona II: Joe Nemechek race report

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2004) - Joe Nemechek put on a blistering late-race charge that resulted in a 10th-placed finish in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 here at Daytona International Speedway. Following the final pit stop on Lap 138 of 160,...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2004) - Joe Nemechek put on a blistering late-race charge that resulted in a 10th-placed finish in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 here at Daytona International Speedway.

Following the final pit stop on Lap 138 of 160, Nemechek found himself in 23rd position as the 400-mile race was winding to a conclusion. But in those final 22 laps, Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet set a remarkable pace, picking up 13 positions on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

"My car was perfect on the last run," said Nemechek. "We were passing everybody. I didn't want this race to end when it did because if we had a few more laps we would have gained a couple of more positions."

Though Nemechek had an incredible sprint to the finish to claim a top-10 result, he left the race with mixed feelings.

"This U.S. Army/USG car should have been there in the end contending for the win," said Nemechek, who qualified sixth. "We were running up front until an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel (Lap 77 during a caution). That put us in a big hole (went from 7th to 31st) and out of the lead draft. We also had a couple of other hiccups, but we stayed cool and hustled our way through the field.

"I think our year is turning around -- we have shown in the last 10 races we can lead laps and run up front. This Army team is strong - but we just keep finding that little weak spot every race. We have to get better and keep on digging until we get there. Overall, I guess a 10th-place finish wasn't all that bad, but on the other hand, we had a car that was capable of winning this race."

Nemechek's results at Daytona this year - sixth in the 500 (February) and 10th Saturday - were his best two career Cup finishes at the historic facility.

The start of Saturday's race was delayed for nearly two hours due to rain, and was completed early Sunday morning at approximately 12:30 a.m.

The next stop for the 01 team will be Sunday (July 11) - the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek