ACCIDENT SPOILS NEMECHEK'S STRONG PERFORMANCE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE LOUDON, N.H. (July 16, 2006) -- You could detect the mixed emotions in Joe Nemechek's voice after he got hit from behind, resulting in a race-ending crash for his U.S. Army ...
ACCIDENT SPOILS NEMECHEK'S STRONG PERFORMANCE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
LOUDON, N.H. (July 16, 2006) -- You could detect the mixed emotions in Joe Nemechek's voice after he got hit from behind, resulting in a race-ending crash for his U.S. Army Chevrolet.
At the time of the accident -- Lap 201 of 300 -- Nemechek was running solidly in sixth place and enjoying his best day of the season.
After starting 16th, he broke into the top 10 on Lap 91 and stayed there until he got turned around by Brian Vickers going into Turn 4 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
"It was nobody's fault," explained Nemechek. "There were lapped cars, we were boxed in and in that scenario someone usually gets taken out. I guess we were the victim today."
When Nemechek crashed into the wall, the impact caved in the back-end of the Army Chevy.
"That was a hard blow -- and it hurt," said Nemechek. "I could drive the car back to the garage, but the damage was not repairable."
Though he will be credited with a 41st-place finish, it was the performance that eased the frustration for Nemechek and the 01 Army team.
"The finish was frustrating, but the performance has us excited," offered Nemechek. "We learned a lot in Chicago last week and even more in testing at Indianapolis on Monday. What we learned transferred here this weekend. As soon as we unloaded the Army Chevy on Friday we knew we had a top-10 car."
But as Nemechek left the 1.058-mile oval prematurely it was hard for him not to wonder what the result could have been at the track where he claimed his first Cup victory.
"The Army car was so good that we didn't make one change on the last pit stop (Lap 180)," noted Nemechek. "We were getting better and I truly feel we could have challenged for the win."
"It's been a struggle this season," Nemechek continued. "But I am confident that today was the start of a strong second half of the season. We've come back strong before and can do it again. The soldiers' creed of never giving up travels with us every week."
The next stop for Nemechek and the Army team will be the Pennsylvania 500, Sunday (July 23) at Pocono Raceway.