DOVER, Del. - "Front Row Joe," piloting the No. 87 NEMCO Chevy, scored his third Busch victory of the season Saturday at Dover, and 15th of his career. Nemechek, who started on the pole, was able to avoid numerous wrecks to put his Monte Carlo...
DOVER, Del. - "Front Row Joe," piloting the No. 87 NEMCO Chevy, scored his third Busch victory of the season Saturday at Dover, and 15th of his career. Nemechek, who started on the pole, was able to avoid numerous wrecks to put his Monte Carlo into victory lane.
"We made a lot of changes on this car last night because it was really, really loose," said Nemechek. "I got up real close on Matt (Kenseth) and I was beginning to work him over pretty good and then he just spun out.
"Whether I could have passed him or not, I'm not sure. It's awful tough to pass people at this track."
This is Nemechek's third career victory from the pole in the Busch series, but the last time a NBS race was won from the pole at Dover was in the fall of 1986. It is Nemechek's first victory at the 1-mile oval.
"It's gratifying to come back and have some success at a place where you've had troubles in the past," Nemechek continued. "I'll grant you every time I come here my neck hurts a little."
Scott Riggs in the No. 10 ppc Ford charts second, followed by David Green in third.
"It was a good run for everyone on the Nesquik Ford Taurus," said Riggs. "They worked awful hard this weekend and gave me a great car. I was actually pretty upset in the car. The car was a little tight all day long and we just kept trying to free it up. No matter what we did we just couldn't get it free.
"There at the end, we were just better on cold tires and could make some runs there on those short runs. My hat's off to these guys. We're racing for every weekend to have a top-five and be consistent. This team is having a great time right now."
Fourth goes to Winston Cup point leader Matt Kenseth, and fifth to Brian Vickers.
"It was a great car," said Kenseth. "I just didn't do a very good job of getting it to victory lane."
"We got a good top five finish out of it," continued Kenseth. "I sure would have liked to have won today. We had a great race car. I just need to do a better job of keeping up with my adjustments."
Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 Reiser Ford was clearly the class of the field. He motored by pole sitter Joe Nemechek on the events first lap and at times checked out to a two second advantage over the field. The Winston Cup championship leader, however, encountered problems on lap 153 on the restart after a wreck involving David Stremme brought out the third caution of the day.
Kenseth sputtered on the restart, causing a logger jam in the group of cars behind the No. 17 Ford. Kenseth developed left rear end damage on his Taurus, as Brian Vickers in the No. 5 Hendrick Chevy inherited the lead. Several cars suffered collateral damage including Randy LaJoie, Ron Hornaday and Dave Blaney.
During the ensuing caution, however, Vickers pitted, swapping the lead with Kenseth.
Sheet metal damage aside, Kenseth still managed to hold a several car length advantage over the field until lap 178. At that lap, Kenseth took a wild spin in turn two giving up the lead to Joe Nemechek. Kenseth was never able to regain his momentum.
The restart came with just nine laps left and eleven cars on the lead lap. But it did not stay green for long. Just three laps later, Martin Truex Jr. lost control of the No. 81 Chance2 Motorsports Chevy in turn two while racing Matt Kenseth. This was Truex, Jr.'s second start in the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. /Teresa Earnhardt owned Monte Carlo. He finished 18th.
"I'm really down on myself," said Truex. "Letting a possible top five finish slip away into an 18th-place finish, two laps down. Let me tell you, did I learn something today? I learned a whole bunch! I was just going too fast, too excited I guess."
NASCAR stopped the field and displayed the red flag in an effort to have the race finish under green flag conditions. That set-up a three lap shoot out to the checkered flag between the cars of Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs, and David Green. But in the end, no one had the horse-power to chase down the No. 87 Chevy of Nemechek.
Nemechek's win at Dover is the eleventh victory in fourteen events scored by a Winston Cup regular.
Todd Bodine's seventh place finish solidifies his lead in championship rankings. Scott Riggs moves up one spot to second just 76-points out of the lead; while David Green slips a spot to third. Mike Bliss is fourth followed by Ron Hornaday who rounds out the top five.
Mother Nature must be a NASCAR fan. Despite early morning rain showers that scrubbed Winston Cup final practice and a forecast that called for severe wind and showers; Busch series teams were able to take to the track on time for their fourteenth event of the season and complete all of the 200 scheduled laps.