Nemechek Finishes 14th in California; Remains 7th in Driver Point Standings FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Joe Nemechek overcame two unlucky breaks during green-flag pit stops to post a 14th-place result in Sunday's Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup...
Nemechek Finishes 14th in California; Remains 7th in Driver Point Standings
FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Joe Nemechek overcame two unlucky breaks during green-flag pit stops to post a 14th-place result in Sunday's Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup race.
In the early going of the 250-lap, 500-mile event at California Speedway, Nemechek's No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet was a bullet as it plowed its way through the field on the 2-mile oval.
Nemechek started 26th and when he came into the pits for fresh rubber and fuel on Lap 50 he was running in seventh place and chasing down the leaders.
"The CertainTeed Chevy was absolutely awesome in the beginning," said Nemechek, who is seventh in the Nextel Cup driver point standings. "The grip was tremendous and we kept on moving forward. I wish we had a longer pit window because I didn't want to break our momentum. The setup was perfect and we were one of the fastest cars on the track."
Unfortunately, the momentum that Nemechek referred to was broken a few laps after the green-flag stop due to do an untimely caution.
Nemechek was among the first group of drivers to pit on Lap 50. As luck would have it for the No. 13 driver, a caution came out a couple of laps later, giving a big advantage to the cars that didn't already pit and a huge disadvantage to the cars that had. Instead of maintaining his top-10 position, Nemechek fell a lap down and was relegated to 25th place.
"That hurt," said Nemechek. "This track is difficult to pass on and to lose all those spots quickly put a big dent in our rhythm. Fortunately it was early in the race and we had time to battle back."
Nemechek fought back with tenacity, as he did last week to finish ninth in the Daytona 500. But on the next pit stop (Lap 90), the same thing happened to Nemechek - he pitted under green and the next lap a caution was called for debris.
"We couldn't buy a break," said Nemechek. "It was nobody's fault -- just bad timing."
Nemechek continued to be a lap down and was stuck in the mid 20s with track position.
"Once we got our lap back (Lap 125), we started to move forward again," explained Nemechek. "But the car wasn't as strong as in the beginning of the race. For some reason, it was awfully tight...the valance could have gotten knocked in. But overall it wasn't a bad day. And for that matter, it's been a pretty good start to the season for a new team. I feel we have a bright future with this No. 13 CertainTeed team."
The Nextel Cup Series is off next weekend and will resume action March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
-credit: ginn racing