Rockingham: Joe Nemechek race report

Nemechek, U.S. Army Team persevere in Rockingham. ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2004) -- Though he wrestled with both a loose-handling and damaged racecar, a tenacious Joe Nemechek fought through the adversity to finish 24th in Sunday's Subway...

Nemechek, U.S. Army Team persevere in Rockingham.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2004) -- Though he wrestled with both a loose-handling and damaged racecar, a tenacious Joe Nemechek fought through the adversity to finish 24th in Sunday's Subway 400 here at North Carolina Speedway.

"It was by no means the finish we expected and wanted, but at the same time, it could have been worse," said U.S. Army crew chief Ryan Pemberton."Joe hung in there with a gritty driving performance to salvage whatever he could with a wrecked car."

The extra effort by Nemechek earned him enough points to remain in the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver standings. After two races he is 10th in points, only 24 out of sixth, the position he was in entering the Rockingham race.

Nemechek started the 393-lap race 12th. He struggled early on trying to find the right grip on the coarse 1.017-mile track. And to make matters worse his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet got punted into the wall on lap 265, causing major damage to the steering and the right front of the car.

"Brendan Gaughan stuck his nose in there and made it three wide while trying to pass a lap car," said Nemechek. "That wasn't a smart move."

While the race was under caution due to the incident that involved five cars, Nemechek came into the pits three different times as the Army of One crew valiantly worked on the car to make it drivable for the remainder of the race.

"The crew did a great job under some very difficult circumstances," commented Nemechek. "They got it back to where I could drive it. Even though the 01 was a handful to maneuver, we got the job done by finishing the race."

"All-in-all it was rough day," Nemechek added. "Yesterday in practice the car was tight and we made changes to compensate for the problem. But we ended up making it way too loose. Hopefully our luck will be better in Las Vegas."

Las Vegas will be the third and next stop for the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The March 7th date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway follows a rare off weekend for NASCAR teams.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek , Brendan Gaughan