Nadeau Marches On

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It's been a whirlwind of a week for United States Army driver Jerry Nadeau. He has gone from one major event (Daytona 500) to another - witnessing the birth of his first child, Natalie Kate, who was born Monday at Spartanburg (S.C.) Regional Medical Center.

As soon as NASCAR officials called Sunday's Daytona 500, Nadeau immediately left for Spartanburg to be alongside his wife, Jada. Since ice storms were in the South Carolina forecast, Nadeau decided against flying and opted to drive the 475-mile trek with assistance from his father, Gerry.

While the excitement of being a first-time Dad continues, Nadeau will change gears as he readies for the Sunday's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway.

"Life is great and everyone is healthy," said Nadeau. "I am sincerely thankful for everything that has happened.

"Regarding the race team, we had a fast car in Daytona and felt we deserved a better result. We just need to keep the U.S. Army Pontiac out of trouble because the talent is there for this team to be successful. Had it not been for a pit road incident we could have had a top-five finish in Daytona. I feel we have momentum and we're taking it to Rockingham."

Negotiating the historic 1.017-mile Rockingham track is never an easy task, even for the veterans of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

"Tires, tires, tires and keeping the fenders on the car - that's the key to Rockingham," said U.S. Army crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "It's a unique race track with grip being a problem and tire wear always a huge issue. The strategy is to be around at the end of the race and not be wounded. That's basically the same strategy at every race, but tire wear is a bigger part of it at Rockingham."

Both Nadeau and Pemberton will be exchanging notes with their teammate -- the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac, driven by Johnny Benson, who won the November race in Rockingham.

"I am sure we will use some of their notes and knowledge and apply them to our side of the shop," said Nadeau. "Johnny and James (crew chief James Ince) did a great job in winning that race last year and hopefully it will have a positive effect for the U.S. Army team."

Sunday's Subway 400 begins at 1 p.m. EST. FOX will begin its coverage with a pre-race show, beginning at 12:30.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2003, Jerry Nadeau

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