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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Nemechek wins Busch race at Dover

June 1, 2003

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— Joe Nemechek took advantage of Matt Kenseth's late-race blunder Saturday and became the first driver in 17 years at Dover International Speedway to win a NASCAR Busch series race from the pole.

Winston Cup points leader Kenseth dominated the race, but missed a shift on a restart on the 155th lap of the MBNA 200. He was hit by Brian Vickers and tried to finish with rear bumper askew and left rear fender bent upward.

But Kenseth spun out on lap 179, giving fast-closing fellow Cup racer Nemechek the lead.

"That last run, I caught Matt and started to work him over," Nemechek said. "He broke loose and got sideways.

"I said, 'Whoa.' It was almost like Christmas."

Nemechek's task was made easier when the cars restarted the crash-filled race in single file twice in the final 10 laps on The Monster Mile. The last came after Martin Truex Jr. spun, and the event was red-flagged.

But Scott Riggs was unable to close the gap in the final three laps under green, and his Ford finished nearly a half-second behind Nemechek's Chevrolet.

Nemechek knew what Riggs was up against.

"If you get behind somebody, they're going to take away your line," Nemechek said. "My car worked good and we could pull away."

Kenseth led 160 laps, easily outracing any challenger as he attempted to win for the third time on the high-banked concrete oval.

"We had a great car, but I just didn't do a very good job," he said. "I just missed a shift. It happened to me a couple of times this weekend."

After Kenseth's blunder, NASCAR suggested to his crew that the car be brought in for examination, but they declined and he continued. He made a great save when he spun leaving the second turn and wound up fourth, but was disappointed.

It was the 15th career Busch win and third this year for Nemechek, who hours earlier crashed his Cup car in practice. He will use a backup car and move to the rear of the field today in the MBNA 400.

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