Sears Point: Joe Nemechek race report

NEMECHEK FINISHES 23RD IN SONOMA ROAD RACE SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- A spinout and being on the wrong side of the pit cycle thwarted a strong performance by Joe Nemechek Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Nemechek, who was credited with a ...

NEMECHEK FINISHES 23RD IN SONOMA ROAD RACE

SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- A spinout and being on the wrong side of the pit cycle thwarted a strong performance by Joe Nemechek Sunday at Infineon Raceway.

Nemechek, who was credited with a 23rd-place finish in the Nextel Cup road race, had the U.S. Army Chevrolet running in the seventh position when he pitted under green on Lap 69 of 110. But from that point of the race, nothing went in his favor.

When Nemechek left the pits he dropped back in the field only because a number of cars were on a different pit cycle. The U.S. Army driver continued to post fast lap times and was gaining in track position on the 1.99-mile road course.

But on Lap 85 when he was entering the sharp Turn 11 corner, Nemechek lost control of the 01 car and spun out. He immediately got back on the track, but the incident sent him to the rear of the field.

"I was trying to make something happen and pass cars," said Nemechek. "But I temporarily lost it and that really hurt us. However, we still felt we could come away with a decent finish because a lot of cars still had to pit for fuel. But luck wasn't on our side -- a caution came out with a few laps remaining, allowing most of those cars in front of me to just barely make it to the finish line with enough gas. If the race had gone one more lap we would have picked up seven or eight more spots."

This was the third straight road race that Nemechek has seen a top-10 or better finish falter. Last year he was running in the top five at both Infineon Raceway and the Watkins Glen road course when a transmission failure ruined his day.

"It's really disappointing to walk out of here today with a 23rd-place finish," said Nemechek. "We were one of the best cars out there, but didn't get the job done. But as I always say, we're like our soldiers -- we never give up and will always fight through adversity."

Despite the finish, Nemechek gained two spots -- from 19th to 17th -- in the Nextel Cup driver point standings.

The next stop for Nemechek and the U.S. Army team will be Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek