JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO "This is something every race car drivers dreams of. Winning both races (Busch and Cup) and getting the (Bud) pole here - man - I guess there was one other thing I didn't do and that was ...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
"This is something every race car drivers dreams of. Winning both races (Busch and Cup) and getting the (Bud) pole here - man - I guess there was one other thing I didn't do and that was getting the Busch pole. But, what an incredible weekend. It's just a tribute to the whole Army team. It's like a whole group of people working together for a common goal to have success and the same virtues that go on in the Army with all the military folks. Teamwork is very important. We had great pit stops today. I communicated with Ryan Pemberton very good and we made some good adjustments on the car. We were off at the beginning of the day and we got better at the end of the day. We were right when it counted. That's all I can ask my guys. Give me something good to drive and if it drives good at the end of the race, we'll have a shot at winning. And I'll be darned if it didn't come our way today."
ON THE MILITARY AND WINNING IN THE US ARMY CHEVY TODAY
"It was neat. Ricky Rudd and Greg Biffle are good friends of mine. Greg Biffle definitely had the best car through the middle stages of that race. He was incredible up there.
"Towards the end, we were getting really good gas mileage and we elected to stay out when everybody else came back in to get a splash of gas. It just got me in good position. I got my car just a little too tight. But at the end, getting that clean air on the front of your car was just incredible. We were running fast lap time. We've got to say thanks to Chevrolet and all the great support they've given us and having a great car and having a car in Victory Lane this weekend.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet. This is incredible. My heart's still beating. But to come so close - I almost gave the race away. Ricky Rudd caught me and I wasn't going to give it away easily. I did what I needed to do to keep that car up front and keeping that clean air on the nose. But it was a good race today. You could run high or low. You could run wherever you wanted to run. It made for great racing."
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A WINNING RACE CAR? WHEN YOU GOT THE CLEAN AIR OR EARLIER THAN THAT
"I don't think anybody knows you have the winning car as fast as a couple of the cars were running out there. We stayed out and we were fourth or fifth in line and right away I got by Ricky Rudd and Elliott Sadler and Jamie McMurray was in that pack. I got past them all and pulled out to a lead. I thought Greg (Biffle) was going to have to run some awful fast laps if he was going to catch us. But he was back in traffic. The strategy just worked out perfect. You don't know you're going to win. On the last lap I didn't know if I was going to win that race. It's one of those things. You do the best you can all the time. Ricky stuck his nose down in there and got up beside me and I thought, 'I can't believe it. Here it is the following day (after the Busch race) and it's going to happen to me again. But the car did what it needed to do at the proper time and we beat him back to the start/finish line."
ON THE TOP THREE FINISHERS TODAY NOT BEING IN THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IS THAT A MORAL VICTORY?
"Deep down in my heart, I know my team is capable of running in the top 10. I feel we should have had a shot at running for the Chase. But you're graded and we had too many things happen to us this year. We didn't earn the points to be in the Chase. But this team is strong and we've been strong all year.
It's kind of cool to see guys outside the top 10 up there leading laps and battling. We're giving them everything we can throw at them. Our goal is to win races. I don't know where we ended up in points, but the guys in the Chase have more to lose than I do. But we're going at it. We're on the offense, not on the defense."
DO YOU FEEL THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP HAS GOTTEN OUT OF HAND FOR THE SAKE OF WINNING RACES?
"Well, I hope not. My gosh, we swept the weekend and hopefully we're going to be in press for doing it. The Chase has got it's own story. I don't know how it unfolded today. But I think it's a neat thing that's been done. It definitely adds some excitement for the fans. Anymore, it's been kind of like the Busch Series where you've got two guys running for the championship. And that's is. That's normally how it is in any given year. Well now there's 10 with a shot at winning. You're not going to know until it gets down to the final race who is going to win this thing. The TV package has changed. I think only time will tell how this works. But you've got to take care of all the sponsors in this sport somehow or another or else they won't be here."
HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE RESTART AND WERE YOU FRUSTRATED ON THE LAST RESTART?
"Well, anytime you have a big lead and all of a sudden it goes away, it's not good for the guy that's way out front. It makes great TV and a great race for the fans. But I was having great restarts and it's a tribute to all the guys. Everything was right. When you're out in front and you're the guy in control and you have clean air on your hood and we had 60-some laps on our tires there at the end of the race and we were still running incredibly fast times. I've been in this position before. That's what's good. I've had the pressure put on me and I've been able to deal with it. We've pulled off victories before and we pulled off another one today."
ON JERRY NADEAU
"Jerry is a good friend of mine and I can tell you right now that he's jumping up and down at home. He's wanted nothing more than to see this car have success. He's getting better and better each day. But he went through a tough injury. It's an injury we don't know a lot about. He doesn't know when he's going to be better. Maybe that's five years from now."
RYAN PEMBERTON , CREW CHIEF, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We had a good car today. We've had much better cars throughout the year than we had today. Today we did all the other things right and that's what this team is capable of. Joe did a great job at running faster laps at the end of the race than we did at the beginning of the race. It means a lot to this team to win. I don't know what to say. I can't say enough about what this team has been through and what Joe did today."
ON JERRY NADEAU
"He looks good. He feels good. He comes by the shop often. From the outside, he looks good. He looks like he's ready to go. He's getting close. He's a pain like he normally is. He comes by the shop and holds everybody up from working and goofing around and stuff. He's back on track as far as I'm concerned."
WHY DO YOU DO A REVERSE VICTORY LAP?
"I guess it's because I have a little Polish in me. It's just something Alan Kulwicki used to do. I lost my brother in '97 and ever since then it just means a lot to me. I feel my brother is up there looking out for me and it's tough. It's very tough losing someone in your family. He was the youngest one. I believe God decides you time and when it's your time to go, you go. He's in a much better place. We say prayers to him all the time. He looks out for us. He looks out for me. Doing the Polish victory lap is just a little salute to him and all my fallen heroes like Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, and Adam Petty. The list goes on. It's just my salute to them."
TAKE US THROUGH THE LAST LAP BATTLE WITH RICKY RUDD
"I wish I would have never tried to save so much gas there at the end and he wouldn't have caught me. But I didn't see him coming in the mirror. He was running up the track just a little bit and I didn't see him coming. He snuck up on me on the bottom. Next thing I know, he's there. We started getting a little bit tight. He actually caught me and got his nose up underneath and made my car push. I was just lucky he didn't get far enough ahead of me to clear me. As we got down into Turn 3, his car was tight too.
"I was just trying to save gas and I got behind. I guess I should have been looking in my mirror but I was trying to pay attention to where I was going. He caught me and I gave all the room he needed to race. He got tight on the bottom and I just kept turning up high and was able to get back in front of him and beat him at the start/finish line."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ALMOST LET THIS WIN GET AWAY TODAY?
"Well there are a lot of would have, could have, should have's. But I'm sitting here in the press room. I've got the big trophy. Nobody can take that thing away from me. There are a lot of things you could do different. We'll go back and sit down and analyze this race and where we can improve and what we did wrong so we can be better when we come back again next year."