JUSTIN, TX - After a wild, wreck-filled day that included eight cautions, two red flags and one very controversial black flag, Joe Nemechek managed to keep the No. 87 Chevy out of trouble to score his second Busch series victory this season. The...
JUSTIN, TX - After a wild, wreck-filled day that included eight cautions, two red flags and one very controversial black flag, Joe Nemechek managed to keep the No. 87 Chevy out of trouble to score his second Busch series victory this season. The race ended under caution with three laps remaining.
"You have to have luck on your side sometimes," Nemechek said. "Last year here, thunderstorms were coming and going and we came in to pit and decided to take four tires. Jeff Purvis took two and won. You never know."
Two laps into the restart, the already wounded No. 54 Ford of Hermie Sadler spun and hit the wall, bringing out the final caution and securing Nemechek's 14th career victory.
"It was definitely a wild finish," the happy Nemechek recounted after the race. "You have to have luck on your side. We dodged the big one."
Only eleven cars finished on the lead lap, most of them badly battered and beaten. Most of the lead lap cars were involved in the big wreck, in fact; only the lead cars of Spencer, Hmiel, Riggs and Nemechek came away without sheet metal damage.
"I didn't really have a chance to race with Joe all day," said Riggs. "I think that Joe just had track position. By looking at what kind of lap times Joe was running earlier and what kind of lap times I was running, I think so, but it ended up being a survival race.
"You would think we were racing at Martinsville the way the cars were wrecked after this race was over. We were running good there and trying to hang in the top five. My hats off to these guys. All of the guys on the Nesquik Ford Taurus did a great job. I crashed the primary car in practice and got this backup car out, qualified fourth and finished second, which is pretty good."
Todd Bodine continues to lead the Championship scoreboard, 104 points in front of Jason Keller. Jamie McMurray sits in third followed by Ron Hornaday and Kasey Kahne.
"This was crazy," said Bodine. "I'll tell you what the problem is here, first of all the tracks really hard to pass. There's no outside groove, and then you get the lapped cars right in the way. Nobody wants to give, everybody wants to take, take. It's hard to do here, you have to give a lot."
Vickers made his stop and go penalty, and restarted at the end of a long line of lead lap cars. On that restart at lap 191, Ashton Lewis, Jr. made contact with Mike Bliss' rear end causing a chain reaction pile-up in turn one, and sending out the day's second red flag.
Vickers was among twelve of the lead lap cars caught up in the melee. He finished 25th.
"I have a lot of respect for Brian DeHart, David Hoots and Mr. Helton," said Vickers, practically in tears. "They usually make really good calls, I'm sorry I'm going to have to really disagree with them. I think they made a really bad one. Nobody's perfect.
"We had the car to win, and we were going to win this race. And it just got taken away from us."
Polesitter Jason Keller failed to lead any laps, and finished 18th.
Winston Cup regulars have won every Busch series event this season.
Editor's Note: NASCAR issued a statement after post-race tech inspection indicating a problem with the left front spring of the No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Chevy. NASCAR will examine it further on Sunday, March 30 with regard to the spacing of the coil. It will not effect the outcome of the race, however, and Joe Nemechek will keep the victory.
UPDATE: NASCAR penalty given to team owner, crew chief for infraction. Penalty includes two-race suspension.