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The Callahan Report: Joe Nemechek Wins Emotional BGN Race

10 November 1997

HOMESTEAD, FL: Beating Joe Nemechek when he is having a good day is tough. It is even tougher to beat two Nemecheks. Joe Nemechek had some spiritual help today as he drove to a dominating victory in the Jiffy Lube 300 NASCAR Busch Grand National (BGN) race.

[ Joe Nemechek ]
Joe Nemechek

Nemechek's victory came at the same track where he lost his younger brother, John, earlier this year in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. With tears flowing, Nemechek commented, "Everything was just awesome today. I lost my brother, who was also my best friend, in turn one earlier this year. To come back and win the race, I don't even know what to say. It's unbelievable. I know this one was for him. He was definitely watching over me today."

Nemechek was certainly unstoppable today. He led the most laps (127), including the last 59 on his way to a 0.4 second victory ahead of Busch Grand National Champion, Randy LaJoie. Nemechek started the race from the third spot.

Nemechek has a full time ride with Felix Sabates in NASCAR Winston Cup. He runs a limited Busch Grand National schedule. The win today was his second of the year. Nemechek has won five Busch Grand National races in his young career. His most memorable BGN victory came in 1992 when he beat Dale Earnhardt to the line by inches at Loudon, NH.

Another Winston Cup regular finished third. Mark Martin's Ford was surrounded by Chevrolets all day. He was driving the only Ford in the top ten. Martin was followed across the line by Glen Allen and Jimmy Spencer.

At the conclusion of the race, Randy LaJoie gave the fans a magical performance. LaJoie began "cutting doughnuts" at the start/finish line. He became invisible to the crowd in all the smoke. By the time the smoke cleared, LaJoie was standing on top his car waving to the crowd. It was a classy performance by the two-time Busch Grand National Champion.

The final race of the 1997 BGN season was full of emotion and excitement. A fitting conclusion to another great year of competition and a teasing appetizer for 1998. The Busch Grand National series will lift off again in Central Florida in February at Daytona.

Jiffy Lube 300 final results with finishing position, (starting
position), driver, hometown, and car:

 1.  (3) Joe Nemechek, Lakeland, Fla., Chevrolet
 2. (19) Randy LaJoie, Norwalk, Conn., Chevrolet
 3. (15) Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark., Ford
 4. (26) Glenn Allen, Cincinnati, Chevrolet
 5.  (7) Jimmy Spencer, Berwick, Pa., Chevrolet
 6. (22) Matt Kenseth, Cambridge, Wis., Chevrolet
 7. (29) Todd Bodine, Chemung, N.Y., Pontiac .
 8. (17) Kevin Schwantz, Paige, Texas, Chevrolet
 9. (12) Joe Bessey, Scarbourgh, Maine, Chevrolet
10.  (5) Tim Fedewa, Holt, Mich., Chevrolet
11.  (9) Dennis Setzer, Newton, N.C., Chevrolet
12.  (2) Steve Park, East Northport, N.Y., Chevrolet
13. (14) Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kannapolis, N.C., Chevrolet
14. (20) Jeff Fuller, Auburn, Mass., Chevrolet
15.  (6) Elliott Sadler, Emporia, Va., Chevrolet
16. (37) Dale Jarrett, Hickory, N.C., Ford
17. (35) Kevin Lepage, Shelburne, Vt., Chevrolet
18. (40) Mark Green, Owensboro, Ky., Chevrolet
19. (36) Michael Waltrip, Owensboro, Ky., Chevrolet
20. (34) Tracy Leslie, Mount Clemens, Mich., Chevrolet
21. (24) Mike Dillon, Welcome, N.C., Chevrolet
22.  (1) Mike McLaughlin, Waterloo, N.Y., Chevrolet
23. (41) Hank Parker, Jr., Denver, N.C., Chevrolet
24. (33) Randy Porter, Greenville, S.C., Ford
25. (32) Hermie Sadler, Emporia, Va., Chevrolet
26. (31) Buckshot Jones, Monticello, Ga., Pontiac
27. (42) Ed Berrier, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford
28. (13) Wayne Grubb, Mechanicsville, Va., Chevrolet
29. (18) Jeff Krogh, Kamiah, Idaho, Chevrolet
30. (30) Phil Parsons, Detroit, Mich., Chevrolet
31. (27) Robert Pressley, Asheville, N.C., Chevrolet
32. (16) Elton Sawyer, Chesapeake, Va., Ford
33.  (8) Greg Sacks, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet
34. (38) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet
35.  (4) Jason Keller, Greenville, S.C., Chevrolet
36. (10) Scott Lagasse, St. Augustine, Fla., Chevrolet
37. (21) Tony Stewart, Rushville, Ind., Pontiac
38. (23) Jeff Purvis, Clarksville, Tenn., Chevrolet
39. (39) Dale Shaw, Center Conway, N.H., Chevrolet
40. (25) Brad Loney, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 3, Chevrolet
41. (11) Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Chevrolet
42. (28) Mark Krogh, Kamiah, Idaho, Chevrolet

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel

Editor's Note: Images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in the The Nascar Image Gallery from The Callahan Racing Page.