Michigan II: Joe Nemechek race report

NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM COME THROUGH IN THE END WITH EIGHTH-PLACE FINISH BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- It was a roller coaster day for Joe Nemechek, who had mixed feelings following his eighth-place finish Sunday at Michigan International...

NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM COME THROUGH IN THE END WITH EIGHTH-PLACE FINISH

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- It was a roller coaster day for Joe Nemechek, who had mixed feelings following his eighth-place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

After having a dominant car early in the GFS Marketplace 400, Nemechek suffered a major setback on Lap 74 of 200 when he hit the wall after his right-front tire blew.

The aerodynamically crippled No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet struggled to get back its track position until a fuel-mileage gamble paid off in the end.

After coming down pit road one extra time to top off the fuel tank during a caution on Lap 149, crew chief Ryan Pemberton knew it was going to be close on whether the team would have enough fuel to finish if the race stayed green. At that point - with 51 laps remaining -- Nemechek was positioned in 30th place.

The race did stay green for the remainder of the event and Pemberton's and Dave Elenz's (team engineer) calculations were accurate. It was so close that Nemechek ran out of fuel just before taking the checkered flag for his second straight and sixth top-10 finish of the season.

"Topping off the fuel tank that last time made the difference," said Pemberton. "We took a chance and this time it worked in our favor. Finishing eighth was good, considering where we came from. But I am not really thrilled about the finish -- before the tire went down we had the best car out there."

Nemechek, who started from the pole, echoed Pemberton's feelings.

"I definitely have mixed emotions about today, said Nemechek, who led 30 laps. "The final result could have been much worse, but on the other hand, the Army Chevy was perfect -- very capable of winning until I hit the wall after the right-front tire went flat. The incident damaged the car's front-end and we could never get it to work right from that point on. This is an aerodynamic-sensitive track and we were badly handicapped. We had no choice but to go for broke with the fuel mileage. We finally got a break."

As he continued to discuss the team's performance, Nemechek had trouble finding any solace with the top-10 finish.

"We had the right package today," said Nemechek. "But not having a shot at the victory after starting from the pole and leading a number of laps is disappointing. I thought this was the race we were going to win for our soldiers, who are protecting our freedom here and abroad. We'll get that victory for our troops and I have a gut feeling it's going to happen soon. But for now, we'll take the eighth-place result and go on to the next race."

Speaking of the next Nextel Cup race -- it will be Saturday night at the Bristol Motor Speedway short track.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek