Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Nemechek takes Busch race

March 30, 2003


— Joe Nemechek won his second Busch Series race of the season Saturday, fittingly crossing the finish line under caution in an event marred by two red flags and eight other caution periods at Texas Motor Speedway.

Nemechek was in front on the restart on the 196th of 200 laps in the O'Reilly 300 after the second red flag, brought out by a chain-reaction accident that involved 15 cars and caused a 22-minute stoppage.

On the second lap after the restart, Hermie Sadler spun and hit the wall after being bumped from behind by Regan Smith. That brought out the final caution and Nemechek's Chevrolet beat Scott Riggs' Ford to the line.

"It was definitely a wild finish," said Nemechek, who had to start from the back in just his third Busch race of the season and led only the last eight laps. "You have to have luck on your side. We dodged the big one."

Only 11 cars finished on the lead lap as Nemechek won with an average speed of 117.891 mph. There were 48 laps run under 10 cautions, two more than the track record.

Nemechek is the first repeat winner this season on the Busch Series, in which all six races this year have been won by Winston Cup regulars. He has 14 career Busch wins.

Shane Hmiel finished third, ahead of Busch points leader Todd Bodine, also in a Chevrolet.

Brian Vickers, a 19-year-old driver, led a race-high 87 laps.

Vickers regained the lead for the fourth time during the caution that brought out the first red flag. Bruce Betchel's hard crash cracked a temporary retaining wall on the backstretch on the 171st lap and stopped the race for eight minutes.

On that restart on lap 178, Vickers was black-flagged for passing Chad Blount before crossing the line.

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