Phoenix: Joe Nemechek race report

PHOENIX (Nov. 2, 2003) -- An untimely pit stop knocked Joe Nemechek out of contention and dropped the U.S. Army team to a 31st-place finish in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 here at Phoenix International Raceway. Nemechek, who started 10th, was...

PHOENIX (Nov. 2, 2003) -- An untimely pit stop knocked Joe Nemechek out of contention and dropped the U.S. Army team to a 31st-place finish in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 here at Phoenix International Raceway.

Nemechek, who started 10th, was one of the first drivers to come in for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 115 of 312. But when he returned to action, the yellow flag flew for oil on the track, allowing the remainder of the field to pit during a caution. The incident was costly to Nemechek, who fell all the way back to 41st place and two laps down.

"We were a victim of an awfully bad break," said Nemechek. "We lost two laps on that stop and could never get them back. The "Lucky Dog" rule kind of worked against us today."

Though the finish was disappointing, Nemechek was happy with the progress of the learning curve between him and therace team.

"This is only our second race together and I really feel we're jelling as a team," commented Nemechek. "We kept on making adjustments and the Army Pontiac car got better and better and faster and faster. This is one of the best 31st place cars I have ever driven. From that standpoint it was a good day."

The next stop for the U.S. Army team will be Rockingham, N.C. for Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 -- the second-to-last race of the season.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek