Las Vegas: Joe Nemechek race report

FINAL RUN SPOILS STRONG EFFORT FOR NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM LAS VEGAS (March 13, 2005) -- When Joe Nemechek made his final pit stop with 43 laps remaining in Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 he was in third place with an excellent opportunity to...

FINAL RUN SPOILS STRONG EFFORT FOR NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM

LAS VEGAS (March 13, 2005) -- When Joe Nemechek made his final pit stop with 43 laps remaining in Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 he was in third place with an excellent opportunity to challenge for the win.

But a pit road miscue coupled with an unexplained tight-handling racecar in the closing laps dropped the U.S. Army driver to a 19th-place finish.

"I went from having a shot at winning to almost being lapped," said Nemechek. "This is really disappointing. The U.S. Army Chevy was great until that last run. The car got so tight -- it was a handful to drive. I don't know what happened."

Crew chief Ryan Pemberton was equally perplexed about the car's handling at the end of the race.

"When Joe came in for the last stop he had one of the fastest cars on the track," said Pemberton. "We didn't make any adjustments -- took four tires and fuel. Something went amiss and we could not immediately identify any problem after the race. We'll go over everything at the shop this week to see what went wrong."

When Nemechek left the pits on the final stop he went from third to 13th in track position. However, he, along with the entire Army of One team, felt there was enough time to get back to the front. After all, at three different times during the race, he went from the middle of the field to the front with relative ease.

"There was still plenty of racing left to get to the front, but this time -- for no explained reason -- the car got awfully tight," said Nemechek. "It really hurts when you have one of the best cars for the majority of the day and then end up 19th."

The next stop for the Nextel Cup circuit will be Sunday (March 20) at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek