Jerry Nadeau, Melling racing together in 1999

Nadeau, Melling announce 1999 plans By Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 11, 1998) Melling Racing showed its support Wednesday for its young driver, Jerry Nadeau, as it announced that Nadeau will be back as the driver of Melling's No. 9...

Nadeau, Melling announce 1999 plans By Shawn A. Akers

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 11, 1998) Melling Racing showed its support Wednesday for its young driver, Jerry Nadeau, as it announced that Nadeau will be back as the driver of Melling's No. 9 Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1999. "I am really excited about next year," the 28-year-old Nadeau said. "The best thing about this is that we have already been together as a team for half a year. They know what I like in a race car and I know what they need from me. I have really enjoyed working with them.

"Jeff Buice is a great crew chief and Melling is a great team. I plan on paying them back for everything they've done for me with really good finishes next year." The team, based out of Concord, N.C., hasn't announced its sponsorship plans for next season. Team Manager Mark Melling wouldn't say for sure if The Cartoon Network, the team's primary sponsor this past season, would return, but that the team would make an announcement on that within the next couple of weeks.

"I'm not going to say much about it now, but it's going to be a different deal for next year," Melling said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, that's for sure." Nadeau spent the first part of his rookie campaign in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series behind the wheel of the No. 13 FirstPlus Financial Ford, owned by Bill Elliott and Dan Marino. He had a rough indoctrination into NASCAR's highest level, as his best finish in 13 starts with that first-year team was 21st, in the season-opening Daytona 500.

His best qualifying effort was a second-place starting position in the Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point in June. However, an accident relegated him to a 43rd-place finish at the road course. Nadeau first joined Melling Racing in mid-July and posted his highest finish of the year -- 15th -- in The Bud at the Glen Aug. 9. They have been working since then to improve team chemistry for consistent top performances in 1999.

"Jerry is young, full of desire and wants to succeed," Buice said. "Those are the main ingredients for success in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Experience will come. It's pretty exciting to think about the tremendous potential Jerry has -- that's what set him apart from other drivers for us."

"I don't think qualifying is a problem for us because Jerry can run right on the edge," Melling said. "It's just a matter of getting to know what he needs in a race car. Last weekend in Atlanta was a struggle for us, and we're going to have a few races like that, but I think we've got a lot going for us next year and we'll perform a lot better."

Nadeau made 17 starts in the No. 9 Cartoon Network Ford at the end of the season. His other top-20 finish came at Daytona in October when he finished 19th in the Pepsi 400. He wound up finishing third in the NASCAR Rookie of the Year chase behind award winner Kenny Irwin and Kevin Lepage.

Nadeau debuted in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1997 when he made five starts in the No. 1 Pontiac, fielded by Richard Jackson.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Kevin Lepage , Jerry Nadeau