Jerry Nadeau Interview


JERRY NADEAU, DRIVER OF THE NO. 13 FIRST PLUS FINANCIAL TAURUS, IS RETURNING HOME TO HIS NATIVE NEW ENGLAND FOR THIS WEEKEND'S JIFFY LUBE 300 IN LOUDON, N.H. NADEAU, WHO GREW UP IN DANBURY, CONN., SPOKE ABOUT COMING BACK TO HIS HOME TRACK AND HOW THE FIRST HALF OF HIS ROOKIE SEASON ON THE NASCAR WINSTON CUP SERIES HAS GONE. HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER YOUR SEARS POINT ACCIDENT? "I feel fine, it's not a problem. Actually, I haven't even seen the wreck. I do remember a bit of what happened before. Kyle Petty and I got together and, actually, something came off his car and came inside the right side window and wedged between the seat and the steering wheel and that's what locked the steering wheel. My neck feels good and everything's OK." LOUDON WAS YOUR FOURTH OF FIVE RACES FOR RICHARD JACKSON LAST SEASON AND YOU HAD YOUR BEST QUALIFYING EFFORT (NINTH). HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING BACK THERE? "Loudon, I would say, is probably the track that I've been on the most out of all the Winston Cup tracks. I've won three races there in the Barber Dodge car and my second Busch start was at Loudon. We qualified 15th and ran good until we got in an incident with Todd Bodine and took us out for the day. Last year we ran a Cup race and qualified ninth with Richard Jackson and ran good until we lost the brakes. I guess we cut a line or something and we ran on three brakes, which wasn't the way to go. "Other than that, it's a good track. It's smooth and I enjoy running there because it's close to my hometown. I have a lot of fans and friends up there." WHERE DID YOU DO A LOT OF RACING IN YOUR EARLY YEARS? "I didn't race much in New Hampshire. Most of my racing was done in Connecticut and New York. The first time I visited New Hampshire was back in 1992 when I competed in my first Barber Dodge race, and we won there. Other than that, I've always like the race track. I like flat race tracks. To me, because it was close to home and only two-and-a-half hours away, I always thought of that as my home track, even though it was far away." RICKY CRAVEN IS SCHEDULED TO MAKE HIS RETURN THIS WEEKEND, ANOTHER NEW ENGLANDER, DID YOU EVER COMPETE AGAINST HIM GROWING UP? "No, because he was doing a lot of Busch North stuff and late models. I was really in to the modifieds and dirt cars and road racing stuff. I knew of him, but I never really raced against him until the Cup deal." CAN YOU SUM UP THE FIRST HALF OF YOUR ROOKIE SEASON? "It's definitely been a learning curve. My finishes haven't been where I want them to be, but, all in all, I think as a team we've really come together a lot stronger. We've built a pretty good team we just need to have all the pieces fall in place and get some good finishes. A lot of the stuff that took us out this year was either stuff that wasn't involving us, where we got involved in somebody else's mess, or we just had something break on the car, or I made an incident. "The nice thing is I've been to all the race tracks now, except Phoenix and Indianapolis. Once we go back to the tracks a second time, I think we've got a ground plate to work off of considering I've been to places like Rockingham, Martinsville and Bristol. We can go back with similar setups and go from there, plus I've been on the track so it gives me a little bit more confidence that when we put something good underneath the car we can run good." SINCE YOU KNOW THIS TRACK REALLY WELL, ARE YOU CONCENTRATING MORE ON A TOP 20 FINISH AS OPPOSED TO JUST GETTING EXPERIENCE? "I've already told myself, `That's it. I'm gonna start racing now and drive harder.' I think a lot of it showed at Sears Point. I was ready to go and I probably got a little bit too boggled. I knew I was gonna be faster but, considering the lack of time on a road course with a big car, and the fact we only had five laps of practice prior to qualifying, qualifying second was pretty huge for me. I didn't think it was a very good lap and we qualified second. Then I got really excited and I wanted to beat (Jeff) Gordon and I got too excited. Now that I've already made my first mistake starting up front, I can gradually start pacing myself and racing hard and try not to make too many mistakes as a rookie." IS LOUDON THE PLACE TO CHANGE YOUR LUCK? "Oh yeah. I've got some time on it from last year in a Cup car and I know what I have to do there. Qualifying is a big deal there because it's pretty hard to pass unless you have a really good car. If we make a mistake in qualifying and qualify mid-pack or toward the back, the biggest thing is we'll have to adjust to have a good setup for the car for the race." WILL YOU HAVE A LOT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS OUT FOR THE RACE? "I know a lot of people are gonna go to the race track, probably between 20 and 40 that I know of who said they're gonna go to the race. "I think that makes it more fun. The nice thing is in Winston Cup you get a lot of privacy in the pits, but outside the pits you've got your friends and family. I'm more or less the type of person who likes to be alone and like to be by myself in the pits and do what I've gotta do. Outside the race track it's a different story, but going home is a pretty good boost."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine , Kyle Petty , Jerry Nadeau