Highlights of Media Q&A's with Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "It was a good day. Back to the burn-out. I've seen all those cats do those burn-outs all year and I thought I would catch 'em on fire. But he tires were...
Highlights of Media Q&A's with Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"It was a good day. Back to the burn-out. I've seen all those cats do those burn-outs all year and I thought I would catch 'em on fire. But he tires were a little too hard and they finally blew out and then it was a handful to drive.
"It feels great to be back in Victory Lane. The guys have worked so hard and that's what it takes. It's neat to have your owner out there working on your racecar. That's two wins for Andy Petree this year. We've won good a lot of places."
How much did you lose by being sidelined with your shoulder injury? "I lost a total of eight weeks, seven races. I don't know if Andy ever thought I'd be able to drive again or not. But I'm not one to give up and I give it my all every lap I'm on the race track. It's unfortunate we haven't gotten the sponsorship lined up to keep the team going like it is."
On the tires at Rockingham "Rockingham is a tire-management race track. You can't spin your tires and get sideways. I've been in situations where I've spun them and gotten loose. But I've had a great racecar too. The chassis set-up is more important than anything. You've got to be able to go around the corners without having either end start sliding. And then you've got to be able to apply the gas. The car was great. When the race started, it was really loose. I started going forward and everybody else started going back. I just kept changing my line and I found a place that was good for the way the car wanted to go. I made up so much time. But you have to use a lot of finesse. I drove with an egg under my foot all day long. You can't push down too hard too quick or you'll spin the tires. It was just a great day. And you know what was really great? Passing that No. 24 car (Jeff Gordon). With 10 laps to go, we just put her on cruise control. It was great."
Do you wish the win had come earlier in the season? "We almost won at Loudon last year - both times. We came close to winning at Talladega twice. If you can run there long enough, normally you'd get a win. We were on target to get a win early. I got hurt and it took time to recover. Substituting drivers is hard on everything - switching everything out like seats is hard on the team. You're not used to your normal things. I wish it would have come earlier in the year. But to win twice, it feels good. I can tell you that."
After the crash at Dover, how hard was it to see someone else in the car? "I know how difficult it is. For any driver. It's difficult for Steve Park now. You've got to make sure you are physically strong enough. For myself, I didn't want to see anybody else driving. That's my office out there and I didn't want to see anybody else using it. That's my pride. But we came back. When you get knocked down, you've got to get back up as quick as you can."
"I tell you what, I am stunned that we won this race. I can't believe we did it the way we did it. I knew we had a good car. At Happy Hour we realized it might be a top three car. But when I woke up this morning, I had no idea we'd come in here and dominate this race."