Richmond: Joe Nemechek preview

Army Team Revisits Richmond With Plenty of Intrigue Anniversary of Nadeau's crash marked with defending champion in driver's seat. RICHMOND, Va. (May 10, 2004) -- It could be billed as a clash of good luck versus bad luck for the U.S. Army...

Army Team Revisits Richmond With Plenty of Intrigue
Anniversary of Nadeau's crash marked with defending champion in driver's seat.

RICHMOND, Va. (May 10, 2004) -- It could be billed as a clash of good luck versus bad luck for the U.S. Army team at this weekend's Chevrolet American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

No, it's not about the last four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races where driver Joe Nemechek saw top-10 finishes fade away with late race incidents. Nor is it strictly about Jerry Nadeau, who suffered critical injuries as the Army driver at Richmond last May.

Instead, it's about the intrigue and recent history at the Richmond track for both Nemechek and the 01 Army team.

On the positive side, Nemechek is the defending champion of the race. He claimed the victory while driving the No. 25 car for Hendrick Motorsports.

Another positive for the Army team as it enters the 11th race of the season is that the last time it competed at the Richmond track in September, the 01 car captured the pole with Mike Skinner as the substitute driver.

But winning the pole only added to the Richmond intrigue for the Army team. In pre and post qualifying practices, Skinner crashed into the wall in each session, severely damaging two cars and forcing a third car to be brought in for the race from the team's Concord, N.C. shop.

"That was a wild day for us in Richmond," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "We had our share of bad breaks, but considering what happened to Jerry (Nadeau) at the first Richmond race, the second race problems were pretty trivial."

Though the 34-year-old Nadeau continues to recover from head injuries sustained in the accident, he doesn't shelter any bad feelings about the Richmond facility. In fact, he is planning to attend the weekend race, his first visit to a Nextel Cup event in 2004.

"I only have good things to say about the Richmond track and the community," said Nadeau. "After all, the track emergency workers and the hospital staff at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center saved my life.

"I'm really looking forward to being with the team. Hopefully I can bring Joe and the guys some luck. Joe is doing a great job in the Army car despite all of the bad breaks he's had recently."

Bad luck, good luck, fate or intrigue, Nemechek is unfazed by recent and past events.

"The only thing on my mind is to get that good finishing result that has escaped the Army team the past four races," said Nemechek, who has qualified in the top five in three of those four races. "I have nothing but a positive attitude heading into Richmond. And why shouldn't I. I have proved that I can win there and the Army team has proved they can tune a car there.

"I'm glad that Jerry is coming to the race. I think it's good for him and also good for the team. And it would only be fitting for the 01 team to begin a positive streak in Richmond."

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner , Joe Nemechek , Jerry Nadeau