Nadeau the one to watch at Watkins Glen

With less than three laps to go in the Winston Cup's first road course race of the season at Sonoma, Petty Enterprises' Jerry Nadeau had a several car length lead on the second place car driven by Ricky Rudd. Heading into turn 11, Nadeau spun in a...

With less than three laps to go in the Winston Cup's first road course race of the season at Sonoma, Petty Enterprises' Jerry Nadeau had a several car length lead on the second place car driven by Ricky Rudd. Heading into turn 11, Nadeau spun in a puff of smoke as Rudd passed for the win.

Disappointing, yes. But a huge accomplishment that he was even leading the race considering at the time, Nadeau was simply a replacement driver for the weekend. He has since taken over the No. 44 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge for the rest of the season. Heading to another road course this weekend, Watkins Glen, Nadeau feels his chances are just as strong this time as they were at Sonoma.

"We obviously had a gear problem late in the race. I think a lot of cars had gear problems. We're not sure if it's the gear we chose. There's nothing the guys can do to fix that. It's just a thing you can't stop. I'm not sure what gears we're going to run at Watkins Glen, but I'm not looking at that as a problem."

"We had a four and a half second lead. I knew Ricky (Rudd) was coming, but I didn't think there was enough time for him to catch us. I'm looking forward to Watkins Glen."

"We're going to take the same car we ran at Sears Point, with maybe just a slight chassis adjustment and go out and attack the track just like I attack any other race track. I think everybody has got the same demeanor when they get to a race track and that's to go as fast as possible without going off."

Nadeau has had a rather rocky start to his Winston Cup career. He drove for various teams at the beginning of his career, and than landed a spot in the No. 25 Chevy of Hendrick Motorsports in 2000. His first year was rough, but all in all, a pretty good one. He scored his first career victory at the season ending event at Atlanta.

The Danbury, Conn. native explains, finding the right chemistry in Winston Cup racing, has got to be one of the toughest battles of them all. "When I first got involved back in '95, I tried to pursue NASCAR and I got a sponsor to go run five Busch races. Back then it just seemed like you had to get in the click. People had to know who you were before you actually got a ride. I did five races and then I kind of sat around. I didn't know what to do. I did well, but I don't think I was in it long enough and did it well enough to pick up a ride right away."

"It just took some time. You have to work hard at it. You have to meet a lot of people. I spent months and months working at race shops, working on cars, working at the shop and getting parts and pieces for the team. Then finally it was like, 'hey man, I want to race.' I had to raise a little bit of money. I got in one of his cars, went to Charlotte and finished second in an ARCA car. The next week I was in a Cup car."

"I think anybody can make it if they have enough devotion and enough determination to stand by it and keep plugging along and working at it. I think I've made a lot of determination to get as far as I have today."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau
Teams Hendrick Motorsports