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NASCAR WCUP: Racer Jerry Nadeau will have a 'racing birthday'

31 August 2000

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
RICHMOND, Va. -- A little birthday cake, maybe a special dinner with your spouse, or just kicking back and relaxing. That may be how the typical 29-year-old celebrates entry into the next decade, but that's not Jerry Nadeau's style. Instead, he's out for a night on the town for his 30th birthday.

On his big day, the driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet will be racing under the lights of Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"It doesn't matter to me whether it's my birthday or any other day," the Danbury, Conn., native said. "I want to be racing whenever I can. But since it will be my birthday, the perfect gift would be to get my first Winston Cup race win."

Should that happen, Nadeau's wife, Jada, and his parents will be on hand to celebrate both special occasions.

"I wouldn't miss this race for the world," said Nadeau's mom, Pauline. "We try to go to as many races as we can, but we still don't get to see Jerry and Jada enough. His sister, Debbie, and her fiance, Dave, are very supportive of Jerry, too, even though they don't get to go to the races as much as they would love to. But I plan on being there when Jerry wins his first race, so this race is as good as any for him to do it."

With all of that support -- and a talented race team -- behind him, Nadeau feels his chances for a strong performance are good.

"Richmond's one of the first tracks I ever raced on when I went NASCAR racing in the Busch Series. It's a tough little short track. You've got to have a knack for getting around the track and you've got to have a good race car."

"Being with Hendrick Motorsports, I'm pretty confident that we'll have a strong car," Nadeau continued. "I feel like the team is capable of winning at any track we go to, but testing (at Richmond) this week helped, too. Now, it's just a matter of going out and having a good qualifying run so I don't put myself in a bad spot by having to come from the back of the field."

Just because it's his birthday doesn't mean Nadeau can get overexcited about the race. Patience and consistency are key to a top-10 finish. Perhaps his more mature 30-year-old view of life will help him as he navigates the 0.75-mile track.

"Richmond is a smooth track so you have to be a smooth driver," Nadeau explained. "You can't overcharge the car into the turns. Like a lot of other short tracks, you have to stay out of trouble and save your equipment for the end of the race."

The glow from his 30 birthday candles may not be as bright as the lights that circle Richmond International Raceway, but you can bet Nadeau's smile will be, should he win his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race.

"I really like night racing. I'm glad NASCAR made both races at Richmond night events. The drivers like it, the fans like it -- it's just good old short track racing. I want to win races at tracks like Richmond, Bristol (Tenn.) and Dover (Del.) -- all the places that are tough and demand more of the driver."

For a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver, what better way is there to celebrate a birthday than with a few "sparklers" from an exciting short-track race under the lights?

Text provided by Melanie Whitfield

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.