NEMECHEK'S CHARGE FOILED, BUT U.S. ARMY DRIVER STILL GAINS IN POINT STANDINGS RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 10, 2005) -- Just when Joe Nemechek felt he had a shot of salvaging a decent finish in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400, the unthinkable ...
NEMECHEK'S CHARGE FOILED, BUT U.S. ARMY DRIVER STILL GAINS IN POINT STANDINGS
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 10, 2005) -- Just when Joe Nemechek felt he had a shot of salvaging a decent finish in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400, the unthinkable happened to the U.S. Army Team.
After getting back on the lead lap following a caution on Lap 354 of 400, Nemechek came into the pits for fresh tires. When he returned to the track to position himself at the tail end of the lead lap, the No. 77 car (Travis Kvapil) rammed into left-side of Nemechek's 01 Army Chevrolet while the race was still under caution.
The incident not only caused Nemechek to make an unscheduled pit stop and lose a lap, it also dropped him from 24th to 31st in track position. Despite having a damaged car, Nemechek soldiered on to finish 26th at Richmond International Raceway.
"The Army car was at its best when that caution came out," said Nemechek. "Everything was falling into place for another late-race charge. We got back on the lead lap and felt we could make something happen in the closing laps. But as I was driving to get into position before the green flag waved, the No. 77 car swerved and killed the front-end of my car. That's what happens when people aren't paying attention."
That was the bad news for Nemechek and the Army team.
The good news was that Nemechek gained one spot in the driver standings and will head into the 10-race homestretch in 15th place. Last year after the first 26 races, Nemechek was 25th in the standings. He picked up seven positions in the final 10 races to finish 18th for the season
"Since we didn't make the Chase, our goal right now is to finish 11th and we can do that," said Nemechek. "We have some race tracks coming up that we like and can run well at. We proved that last year, and if we can repeat that performance, we'll be contending for 11th place and the one million dollar bonus that goes with it. We have that Army spirit of never giving up."
The first of the 10-race Nextel Cup homestretch will be Sunday (Sept. 18) at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.