Texas Chevrolet Drivers Preview

Tuesday, March 23, 1999. Advance material for Sunday's PRIMESTAR 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Chevrolet notes and quotes. JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nemechek finished fourth in last year's...

Tuesday, March 23, 1999. Advance material for Sunday's PRIMESTAR 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Chevrolet notes and quotes.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nemechek finished fourth in last year's NASCAR Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, and he finished third in the Busch race at Texas. He had failed to qualify for the Winston Cup race the week before at Bristol. The 35-year-old Lakeland, Fla., native tested at Texas earlier this month and talks about his chances this weekend at the 1.5-mile oval near Fort Worth.

"We had a really good car at Texas last year, but that's going to be our backup this time. We're doing some experimenting, so we're going to take the car we ran at Atlanta and Darlington last week. We're trying some new stuff with it. We're getting beat, so we've got to try everything we can to run with these guys. We've really got no idea if it's going to work or not, but you've got to try to keep up with them somehow. "They've really changed the track since last year. I think it's going to be a lot better. There's more banking getting into the corner in turn one, and that's going to help, but it's really tricky getting into that corner. There are some bumps getting in, and you've really got to be precise and careful if you're going to go fast. It's really kind of tricky. It took my breath away the first couple of times I went in there. "Turn two seems about the same. If anything, it seems like they've taken some banking out of it. I don't see any problems there. Turn three seems to be a little looser getting in, but they've really fixed that dreaded turn four. It's awesome now. I think they moved the wall back. I'm not really sure, but there's plenty of room there now. Before when you came off that turn, you didn't know if you were going to hit the wall or not. "I kinda liked the way the track was before. It was really tricky and if you weren't real careful, it would bite you for sure. I'd say turn one is the only tricky spot left now. The track itself might be slower, but the new asphalt has a lot of grip, so if someone hits the right setup, they might be able to hold it wide open all the way around. "If the weather is right, I'd say the pole speed might be close to what you saw at Atlanta (194.957 mph). If you get in a perfect lap, you just might be able to hold it wide open all the way around the track. The asphalt really has a lot of grip, so you're probably going to see some really fast times in qualifying. "As far as the race goes, we tested there with four or five other cars and I'd say a lane and a half worked in. You'll probably see two grooves in the race. Coming off turn four will be a great place to pass now. I don't want to be on the outside coming off turn two. The banking just goes away too fast, and the car has a tendency to push bad. "We'll be in the Busch race again this year, and maybe we can win it this time. We finished third last year in the BellSouth Mobility Monte Carlo, but we led about the entire race. The caution came out with a few laps to go, and I got caught with old tires and got passed with two laps to go. I can't wait for another chance in that race. "You're hearing a lot of controversy now about the Winston Cup drivers competing in the Busch races, but it's always been that way. When I got started in Busch, I was racing against Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt. Heck, Tim Richmond raced in the Busch Series, too. It's no different now. I know they're trying to develop the Busch drivers, but when you get all those Winston Cup guys in the Busch races, it puts the people in the stands.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Busch Series can stand on its own now, and that's good. NASCAR sets up the rules, and if you abide by those rules, you should be allowed to compete in the Busch Series. That's the way it's always been as far as I know. When I raced in the Busch Series and was able to beat those Cup guys, that's how I knew I was ready for Winston Cup. You've got to learn to race with them sometimes. It sure would be difficult starting in Winston Cup if you'd never raced against them in the Busch Series. "I'm really looking forward to racing in both series at Texas. We've had a couple of decent runs lately in Winston Cup. We finished 14th at Atlanta, but I think we had a top-five car. We got behind early and had to keep fighting our way back. That last two-tire pit stop wasn't right for the setup we had, and we went backwards. "I ran the best I'd ever run at Darlington. We adjusted on our last pit stop and we were sporty after that, but then the rain came and washed it out. It's frustrating when you're running good and it's raining. I guess if you're not good, then you don't mind if it rains, but most of the time, the rain interferes with your race strategy. "Maybe we'll get lucky and it won't rain at Texas this weekend. It would be really nice if we had another weekend like we had down there last year. I qualified second in the Cup race, and you had to do some gutsy things to do that. I guess it just suited my style or something. Qualifying is one thing, but the race is something else. Once those tires start wearing, downforce comes into play quite a bit. Since we've got more spoiler, the Chevys have been more competitive, so maybe we can break that Ford win streak at Texas. The Pontiacs have really been running good, too, so I suppose everyone should be confident going into Texas. "You've got to be confident to drive a race car. I'm always ready to go. Realistically, I don't know if this team is ready to win yet. We just want to be consistent. You always hear you've got to walk before you can run. Well, I think we're on the verge of running. We're on the verge of breaking through. Texas is my style of race track, and anything could happen. It sure would be a great place to win."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Tim Richmond