Nemechek Tops In Atlanta

5924Jpg
HAMPTON, Ga. – It’s just not in the cards, it seems, for a NASCAR Busch Series regular to win a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Joe Nemechek became the sixth straight Winston Cup regular to win the Busch Series event at the 1.54-mile venue as he took the checkered flag by a whopping 10.647 seconds in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312.

The last Busch Series regular to win at Atlanta was Johnny Benson in 1995, the same year he won the Busch Series championship.

“How about that Chevrolet Monte Carlo?” Nemechek quipped. “I thought the car was awesome all day long. The track changed during the day, and we had to loosen the car up. That last set of tires was awesome. It was a good day for us. My hat is off to Greg Biffle. He went as hard as he could go and I was going as hard as I could go, and I just got there to the finish line at the end.”

The victory was Nemechek’s 10th career triumph in the Busch Series.

“We took some time with our first pit stop and we lost four or five seconds to make adjustments to the back end,” Nemechek said. “Once we did that, the car was back on a rail and we just took off. Everybody did their jobs today, exactly what they were supposed to do. I was just the lucky one to drive the car.”

Biffle, who looked as though he’d have a chance to challenge for the victory in the final 30 laps, scraped the wall late and couldn’t make a solid run in the waning moments. The Roush Racing rookie, however, earned his third straight top-five finish.

“I really wish we could have gotten to victory lane, I feel bad for all of the guys,” said Biffle, who has two seconds and a third in his last three races. “We got high up in the groove and hit the wall a couple of times and that really hurt us. But I think we had a great chance to win this race, it’s just too bad we didn’t.”

Todd Bodine, who had won the previous two Busch Series races at Rockingham and Las Vegas, finished a respectable fifth. Michael Waltrip finished third, followed by Jeff Green, Bodine, Jeff Purvis, Jason Keller, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Raines.

Waltrip, who led several laps early on and experienced problems midway through the event, had made his way back to second place by Lap 150, 1.6 seconds behind Biffle. Green flag pit stops began on Lap 159, with Waltrip stopping for four tires and fuel on Lap 160.

Biffle scraped the wall on the same lap and did some damage on the right side of his Ford. He continued to lead through Lap 167, when he pitted for tires and fuel.

When the pit stops cycled out, Nemchek was shown as the leader on Lap 173, followed by Biffle, Bodine, Waltrip and Green. Biffle was shown six seconds behind Nemechek.

Biffle had cut the deficit to 3.5 seconds with 16 laps to go, but then got loose and hit the wall on Lap 188. He was never a factor to win thereafter.

“My car was good enough to catch Joe and win the race,” Biffle said. “I hadn’t even run it 100 percent yet, I was running it about 80 percent. I wasn’t overdriving it. I just got into the wrong spot on the track.

“I was trying to get around some lapped traffic and I got up into the marbles and hit the wall. I don’t have any excuse for that. I thought I was going to be able to catch Joe, but I just got a little too eager.”

Caution No. 4 came out on Lap 82. Hank Parker Jr.’s Chevrolet had run out of fuel and he was trying to get out of the groove when his car was struck by the Chevrolet of Ashton Lewis. Tim Fedewa was also involved in the incident, which allowed the leaders to pit once again for tires and fuel. Lewis and Parker were both treated in the infield car center and released.

Waltrip made his way back to second place by Lap 101, just prior to a four-car accident involving Marty Houston, Elton Sawyer, Tim Sauter and Kevin Grubb. Houston spun out coming out of Turn 2 and hit the wall, and was struck by Sauter’s Chevrolet. Sauter’s car rolled down the track and was slammed into violently by the hard-charging car of Sawyer.

Sawyer was wearing the HANS device, which has been the subject of many stories since the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona a few weeks back.

“If I hadn’t been wearing the HANS device, by head would have been on the steering wheel instead of my hands,” Sawyer said after the accident.

Sauter said his helmet was cracked and that the reason it took a while for him to get out of the car was that he was knocked unconscious for a short period of time.

The fifth caution of the day allowed cars to pit once again, and Waltrip emerged as the leader. He held the point when the race restarted on Lap 112, followed by Nemechek, Green, Biffle and Harvick.

Nemechek once again went to the front on Lap 118, followed by Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Bodine. Waltrip scraped the wall on Lap 119 and lost several positions, but made his way back into the Top 5 by Lap 122.

“I’ve got a good excuse for that,” Waltrip said. “You know when there’s a shadow cast on the wall of the track? Well, I was following the shadow instead of the track, and that’s why I hit the wall. I had things going good early, then bad late. But it wasn’t such a bad day overall.”

“Michael was the man for a while,” Nemechek said. “We went through a point in the race where we picked up and then started to check out, but then Michael was able to get in front of us. When he hit the wall, it was ours to win.”

Pole winner Ryan Newman led the first lap, but Nemechek was able to slip past him and Harvick on Lap 2 before Larry Foyt spun out in Turn 2, bringing out the first caution of the afternoon.

Newman wound up finishing 32nd after a few more mishaps later in the race.

Race Center

Alert Today Florida 300

@ Daytona International Speedway
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Radio Start:
MRN
TV Start:
FOX Sports 1

Photos

  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Nationwide and Truck Banquet
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Ford EcoBoost 300
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • Chase Elliott Makes History
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge

Advertisement

  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites