Dover II: Joe Nemechek race report

Candles go out Early on Nemechek's Birthday DOVER, Del. (Sept. 26, 2004) -- Joe Nemechek has had happier birthdays. The U.S. Army driver, who turned 41 Sunday, was forced to retire early from the MBNA America 400 with a wounded engine and a ...

Candles go out Early on Nemechek's Birthday

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 26, 2004) -- Joe Nemechek has had happier birthdays.

The U.S. Army driver, who turned 41 Sunday, was forced to retire early from the MBNA America 400 with a wounded engine and a frustrating finish of 35th.

It was a restart incident that spoiled Nemechek's party.

When the green flag waved on Lap 56 of 400 to resume action at Dover International Speedway, Nemechek was positioned in 14th place. But when he hit the throttle for the restart, Nemechek rammed into Mark Martin, who checked up for an instant due to a troubled car in front of him.

The contact caved in the grill and put a hole in the radiator of the U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet. The engine started to overheat and then expired a short time later on Lap 95.

"As we all know, restarts are precarious situations, and today I was the victim," said Nemechek, who qualified 22nd. "It was nobody's fault, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I really feel bad for the U.S. Army/USG team because I really liked the way the car handled and felt we were going to have a good day. It was not the kind of birthday celebration I was hoping for."

The NASCAR circuit will head to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway next week for the fourth and final restrictor plate race of the season.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek , Mark Martin