Blatant Hit Results in Frustrating Finish for U.S. Army Team MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 2004) -- Another nightmarish turn of events late in the race spoiled a strong performance for Joe Nemechek and the U.S. Army team. While running in...
Blatant Hit Results in Frustrating Finish for U.S. Army Team
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 2004) -- Another nightmarish turn of events late in the race spoiled a strong performance for Joe Nemechek and the U.S. Army team.
While running in 15th place and moving forward with 44 laps remaining in Sunday's 500-lap NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Martinsville Speedway, Nemechek got hit from behind, which set off a chain of events that resulted in a frustrating 27th place finish.
"We finally got the car clicking and it was rockin' through the field," said Nemechek. "We had an outside shot at finishing in the top-10, but then, for no reason at all, the No. 15 car (Michael Waltrip) spun us out.
"I just passed him (Waltrip) cleanly and he came right back and dumped on us from behind. I don't understand why he did what he did -- it's downright aggravating because this team worked so hard to get in contention for a strong finish."
As Nemechek wrestled with the steering wheel to prevent the U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet from going into the wall, the force from correcting the spinning car damaged the left-front brake line, leaving the veteran driver with a crippled racecar.
The Army of One crew worked valiantly to make a temporary repair, but the time spent in the pits along with the damaged brakes resulted in the 01 car falling to the back of the field.
And with seven laps remaining, more bad news struck the team, when NASCAR instructed the 01 car to come into the pits under green-flag conditions to add brake fluid.
"You don't have a chance when you have brake problems, especially here at Martinsville," explained Nemechek. "I just hung in there and did the best I could."
The frustration of the spin out was compounded for the Army team because of what happened at the last race in Texas when a broken spark plug late in the race dropped Nemechek from third to 14th place.
"We've given up a lot of (standing) points in the last two races," offered Nemechek. "It's frustrating, but there's not anything you can do about it except suck it up, let it go and start thinking about next week."
Though the late-race incident Sunday cost Nemechek a bunch of points, he still managed to gain one spot in the driver point standings, moving from 17th to 16th.
"That surprises me, but I'll take it," said Nemechek when told of where he ended up in points.
On lap 290 the race was red-flagged for nearly 90 minutes when pieces of concrete started to break up on the race surface.
The next stop for the Army team will be Sunday (April 25) at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.