Phoenix: Joe Nemechek race report

NEMECHEK CLAIMS A TOP 10 IN PHOENIX PHOENIX (April 23, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's wild ride in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race resulted in a 10th-place finish for the U.S. Army driver -- his first career top-10 at the one-mile Phoenix...

NEMECHEK CLAIMS A TOP 10 IN PHOENIX

PHOENIX (April 23, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's wild ride in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race resulted in a 10th-place finish for the U.S. Army driver -- his first career top-10 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

For the first 200 laps in the Subway Fresh 500k, Nemechek's 01 Army Chevrolet hovered in the mid teens. But a decision by crew chief Ryan Pemberton not to pit following a caution on Lap 205 of 312 gave Nemechek new life as he vaulted from 16th to fourth in track position.

Sixteen laps later another caution came out and Pemberton once again elected not to pit. That decision sent Nemechek to second.

"Being on the right side of the pit cycles tonight was critical and I thought Ryan (crew chief Ryan Pemberton) made some great calls," said Nemechek. "When I was running second in clean air the Army car was awesome."

At the next caution (Lap 237), Nemechek, who was still running in second place, had no choice but to come in to take four fresh tires and fuel. But a glitch during the pit stop shoved the Army Chevy out of the top 10.

"That last pit stop hurt our chances for a great finish," said Nemechek. "We did battle back to the top 10 even though it was a struggle to pass here. I drove the car hard and ate up the tires pretty good at the end."

According to Nemechek, the U.S. Army team is starting to make a move after a slow start to the 2005 season that saw one misfortune after another strike the 01 Chevy.

"Overall it wasn't a bad performance tonight," offered Nemechek. "However, we're not where we want to be, but we're gaining with two top 10s in the last three races. We can fight back from adversity. This is a team that takes great pride in wearing the U.S. Army colors."

The next stop for Nemechek and the U.S. Army team will be Sunday (May 1) at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek