Fontana: Joe Nemechek race report

Fuel Shortage Costs Nemechek Top-10 Finish FONTANA, Calif. (May 2, 2004) -- Joe Nemechek saw a top-10 finish quickly drop to a 28th place result in Sunday's Auto Club 500when his U.S. Army Chevrolet ran out of fuel with twolaps remainingat ...

Fuel Shortage Costs Nemechek Top-10 Finish

FONTANA, Calif. (May 2, 2004) -- Joe Nemechek saw a top-10 finish quickly drop to a 28th place result in Sunday's Auto Club 500when his U.S. Army Chevrolet ran out of fuel with twolaps remainingat California Speedway.

"Not much to say except it's frustrating to see another good finish go south," said Nemechek, who was running in 10th place when the fuel problem occurred. "The calculations showed that we would have enough gas and I was also trying to conserve fuel on the last run.What probably cost us is that we didn't have any drafting partners at the end. When you run by yourself the car eats up more fuel."

Nemechek and the U.S. Army/USG team weren't alone when it came to running out of fuel. Other top-10 running cars that experienced the same problem in the 98 degree heat were Bobby Labonte, Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield.

"After our last pit stop we had 52 green flag laps remaining and that was in our window," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "But extenuating circumstances worked against us and we came up less than a gallon of gas from having a top-10 finish."

Nemechek, who started the 250-lap, 500-mileevent from the outsidepole, ran in the top 10 for most of the event and even picked up five bonus points for leading the race.

"We had a pretty good car today," said Nemechek, who is 20th in driver points. "At times the Army Chevy was tight and other times it was loose, but overall it was a solid performance.

"What hurts isthis is the fourth straight event that something hashappened to us late in the race that cost usa top-10 finish.One of these days it's going to turn in our favor, and when it does, it's going to be good."

The next opportunity for the U.S. Army team to turn the bad luck around will be May 15 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for the Chevrolet American Revolution 400. Nemechek is the defending champion of the event.

The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will take next weekend off to celebrate Mother's Day.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Kasey Kahne