BUSCH: Nemechek strategy pays off at Atlanta

Skip Barber trained Joe Nemechek and his crew outsmarted the competition with a late-race pit strategy and won Saturday's Aaron's 312k Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, setting up Sunday's Cracker Barrel 500 blue-ribbon event....

Skip Barber trained Joe Nemechek and his crew outsmarted the competition with a late-race pit strategy and won Saturday's Aaron's 312k Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, setting up Sunday's Cracker Barrel 500 blue-ribbon event.

Nemechek likely had the strongest car, starting from the pole and leading 98 of the 203 laps, but a persistent rookie competitor had built as much as a 5 sec. lead heading to the final stops with 30 laps to go. Nemechek got the jump on strategy by pitting early, on lap 161. His new rubber was instrumental in affording him a definite advantage, with Nemechek making up half a second per lap. Skip Barber trained Todd Bodine finished fifth.

In the main event Cracker Barrel 500, Skip Barber trained Jeff Gordon missed a trip to the winner's circle by .006 sec -- virtually a photo finish. The three time Winston Cup Champion would have to settle for second place and the overall points lead four races into the Cup season. Fellow Barberites Jerry Nadeau (3rd) and Ken Schrader (8th) also finished in the top-10.

In CART action, Michael Andretti was best of the Barbers with his fourth place showing at the CART FedEx season opener in Monterrey, Mexico. The all-time leader in CART victories was in his own debut of sorts driving for Team Green. The race polesitter, 1993 Barber Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack, suffered some uncharacteristic miscues and finished fifth. Helio Castroneves finished with an eighth place result.

Earlier at Monterrey in Indy Lights, 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series runner-up Jon Fogarty showed why his future is promising with a second place finish in his Lights debut. He completed the 35-lap race ahead last year's Indy Lights Rookie of the Year, former Pro Series racer Townsend Bell, who came in third.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Todd Bodine , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Jerry Nadeau , Michael Andretti , Jon Fogarty , Skip Barber