By Army News ServiceOctober 16, 2006
CONCORD, N.C. (Army News Service, Oct. 16, 2006) - Joe Nemechek took advantage of two big breaks and went on to post a ninth-place finish in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
It was the best result of the season for Nemechek, who has now scored three consecutive top-10 finishes in the fall race at the ultra-fast 1.5-mile oval near Charlotte. In the 2004 October race at Lowe's, he ended up fifth and last year he was fourth.
Nemechek's first break came on Lap 1 of 334 when he found himself in the middle of a bunch of spinning cars, but his 01 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet came away unscathed in the melee.
"Finally, we had some luck go our way," said Nemechek. "We got spun out on Lap 1 but didn't have any damage. That was a huge break."
Nemechek, who continued to stay away from trouble, took advantage of another break when he vaulted from a lap down to fourth place on a perfectly-placed caution during green-flag pit stops.
"Ryan (crew chief, Pemberton) made a good call to stay out a few extra laps," noted Nemechek. "It paid off because a caution flew and all of a sudden we were back on the lead lap and running fourth. From that point on, we fought hard and came away with a pretty good result."
When Nemechek jumped to fourth after the caution, he was the last car on the lead lap.
"It's amazing how things can change so quickly," said Nemechek. "One minute you're running in mid pack and the next minute you're back on the lead lap, running fourth. It's all about being in the right place at the right time. Something we haven't been able to do this year. Hopefully we can continue with these kinds of finishes in the last five races."
Nemechek didn't have much time to savor his best result of the season, as he left early Sunday for a troop visit in Guantanamo Bay.
"The trip to Guantanamo Bay to meet the troops is going to be a lot more fun after our performance tonight," said Nemechek, who has driven the U.S. Army Chevy since October of 2003.
The next race for the 01 team will be Sunday (Oct. 22) at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.