Nadeau profile

Two significant career pinnacles were achieved by Hendricks Motorsports driver Jerry Nadeau in 2000. Most notable, winning at the season finale in Atlanta, and less striking, was that last year's season was the first in which he competed an...

Two significant career pinnacles were achieved by Hendricks Motorsports driver Jerry Nadeau in 2000. Most notable, winning at the season finale in Atlanta, and less striking, was that last year's season was the first in which he competed an entire season in Winston Cup in the same car, with the same owner.

Starting his road to Cup at age four, Jerry, like many of his peers, began in karting, and after gaining several championships he turned pro at the age of 21, tearing up the Skip Barber Eastern Series between 1991 and 1994. 1995 was his first introduction to NASCAR, competing in two Busch Grand National Events before heading off to Europe to compete in an Open Wheel Series (Formula Opel).

Returning to the USA, Jerry had his first Winston Cup work with car owner Richard Jackson, competing in five events (1997), and making enough of an impression to be selected as the first driver hired by a new team owned by NASCAR great Bill Elliott, and Football legend Dan Marino.


Photo: Thomas Chemris

Jerry's 1998 rookie campaign with the start up team was less than ideal, the unlucky number 13 was a foreshadowing of things to come, and the driver and team parted way mid-way through the campaign

The rookie effort was however not over, Jerry then jumped in to replace Lake Speed in the #9 Melling car, finishing the season narrowly missing rookie of the year honors, second to the late Kenny Irwin.

Nadeau's career continued to be in a state of flux, starting 1999 with Melling, he competed in 22 races, and with his announcement that he signed with Hendrick Motorsports for 2000; he was released, and finished the year filling in for the retired Ernie Irvan in the #36

Jumping from seat to seat Jerry had the unique experience of driving Fords, Pontiacs, and Chevy's. Making him the best person to assess the parody between the car bodies.

Do the body styles really make a difference? "If you got a good car, and you put a good body on it, your gonna be fast. The Hendricks team is a top organization; it is the best team I have been with so far, so my improvement is because of that, not because it is a Monte Carlo. There is not much between car bodies, you can tell if you got in all of them, with same chassis, and same engines, but there are 43 teams, and every team is different" notes Nadeau.


Photo: Thomas Chemris by

Being part of one of the most powerful teams in Cup is certainly an advantage. Teammates Jeff Gordon, and Terry LaBonte have a combined total of five Championships, Is this big advantage?

"I think I learned a lot, I think we have learned a lot as a team, I think what is good about that team is that I think we are working closer together than this team had in the past. For myself, it is great to have good teammates. Jeff and terry are great guys; I talk to them a lot. There are some places that I can help them, and there are a lot of places that they can help me.

In addition to his duties at Hendrick Motor sports, Jerry will; be taking the wheel of a dirt Modified car for R&C Motorsports Ventures, running three to five races in 2001, beginning with the April 7th event at the dirt track at Lowes Motor Speedway.

Naturally, Jerry's number one priority with is with the 25.

2001 will bring with it some changes to the team

New for the season will be the addition of UAW Delphi Automotive as primary sponsor. The team has been busy preparing, posting a speed of 185.73mph at the Daytona tests, and attempting to continue the momentum of winning in the last event of 2000. They are working hard to establish themselves as weekly contenders

Reflecting on that first win, Jerry comments "the day it happened was a day we thought we would never win there, That's the way things work in this world, you never know what the next page or chapter is going to be."

Certainly no one can ever predict, but there is good chance the next chapters will include Jerry in victory lane, and working hard to join the ranks of his teammates as a Winston Cup Champion.

-Thomas Chemris

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Jerry Nadeau , Skip Barber
Teams Hendrick Motorsports