NEMECHEK SURVIVES TALLADEGA; FINISHES NINTH TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 2, 2005) -- U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek survived the Talladega Superspeedway wreckfest Sunday with a ninth-place finish in the UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race. "There was ...
NEMECHEK SURVIVES TALLADEGA; FINISHES NINTH
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 2, 2005) -- U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek survived the Talladega Superspeedway wreckfest Sunday with a ninth-place finish in the UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race.
"There was definitely more beating and banging in this race than we've had in a long time," said Nemechek. "It was mentally exhausting out there. I came close to a couple of those big wrecks, but we hung on and survived. It feels good to leave this track with a decent finish and the car in one piece."
Nemechek, who ran as high as third with 14 laps remaining, was still in the thick of the battle when the final caution flew on Lap 186 of 190. He was running in 10th place when the race resumed with a green-white-checkered restart.
"We managed to pick up one spot, but once you're in the mix of running three-wide you can't go anywhere," explained Nemechek.
Nemechek also picked up one spot in the point standings and is currently 15th with seven races remaining. He is 48 points behind 14th place Dale Jarrett and 20 ahead of 16th place Jeff Gordon.
"Our goal remains the same and that's to finish 11th," said Nemechek, who is 99 points out of 11th, the highest position a non-Chase driver can finish.
Nemechek, who qualified fifth in his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, started the race from the rear of the field due to an engine change during Saturday's first practice session.
"In the early going, I wanted to get up to the front," offered Nemechek. "But at the same time I was trying to be smart. If you don't finish you don't get any points. We were patient and just wanted to be in the hunt at the end."
And that's exactly where Nemechek found himself following a two-tire, green-flag pit stop on Lap 162. He came out of the pits in fourth place and stayed there until the second draft of cars caught up to the front-running four-car pack.
In the closing laps it was a typical, hair-raising Talladega Superspeedway finish with plenty of jockeying and shuffling on the 2.66-mile oval.
"We gave it our best shot, but lacked a little speed," said Nemechek. "When you restart a superspeedway race with two laps remaining there's no telling what's going to happen. It's one of the wildest rides a driver can experience. I was proud of coming on strong at the end with the same spirit and fight of our soldiers."
Speaking of exciting rides, the next stop for the Army team will be Sunday (Oct. 9) at Kansas Speedway where Nemechek won last year's Nextel Cup race from the pole. He also won the Busch race on the same weekend.