Imagine your entire life wanting nothing more than to be a racecar driver. After all of the hard work and determination, you finally make it to the pinnacle of your sport, Winston Cup. Your next goal? Obviously, to win races. Enter the story of...
Imagine your entire life wanting nothing more than to be a racecar driver. After all of the hard work and determination, you finally make it to the pinnacle of your sport, Winston Cup. Your next goal? Obviously, to win races.
Enter the story of Jerry Nadeau. After driving for various teams at the beginning of his career, Nadeau landed a spot in the No. 25 Chevy of Hendrick Motorsports in 2000. His first year was rough, but all in all, a pretty good one. He scored his first career victory at the season ending event at Atlanta.
2001 was a mediocre season for the Danbury, Conn. native. Nadeau had four top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes. He finished 17th in points.
Nadeau's first letdown of the season came at the inaugural Chicagoland event. Leading a large part of the day, Nadeau became sick after battling food poisoning. As if that wasn't enough, the car lost oil pressure and caused the 25 to fall off track. After making repairs in the pits to a hole in the oil line, Nadeau and team fell numerous laps down to the leader.
At Atlanta, looking to defend his race as the winner, Nadeau took the lead from Bobby Labonte with 19 laps to go. He quickly broke out to a huge lead. It appeared as though he was about to claim his second career victory, but not quite. While entering turn four for the final time, his No. 25 Chevy sputtered out of gas, handing the win to Labonte.
Nadeau entered the 2002 season hoping for bigger and better things. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards. Prior to the Winston, Nadeau and the Hendrick stables decided to part ways, due to lack of performance.
Nadeau wasn't out of work for long. He filled in for the injured Johnny Benson in the No.10 Pontiac in a handful of events before jumping in the seat this past weekend, of the No. 44 Petty Enterprises Dodge for a one race deal on the road course at Sonoma.
With less than three laps to go in Sonoma on Sunday, Nadeau had a several car length lead on the second place car driven by Ricky Rudd. Heading into turn 11, Nadeau spun in a puff of smoke as Rudd passed for the win.
An extremely distraught Nadeau expressed his upset after the race. "It always seems to happen to me. Last year we ran out of fuel at Atlanta, should have won that race. Chicago, same thing. All of a sudden I came off turn 11 and I spun the gear and blew the rearend. That's the way my life has been."
Aside from mechanical failures out of his control, time after time the 31 year old proves he has what it takes to find victory lane. Problem is, he doesn't have a permanent ride. "As of right now, the only plans I got is to go with Michael (Waltrip) to Chicago."
Several teams are looking for drivers for the 2003 season. The Wood Brothers, possibly DEI, Yates, and as of late word around the garage is ppi is looking to add a second car to join Ricky Craven. Time will tell where Jerry Nadeau will end up in 2003. But one thing is guaranteed, if luck can finally stay on his side, he is capable of getting the job done.