March 4, 2008
Joe Nemechek and the Furniture Row Racing Team felt optimistic in making their third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in a very young season. As practice unfolded Joe and the team found themselves fighting a loose condition in the chassis.
Crew Chief Jay Guy and the team continued to try to look for the right balance in the car but didn’t find what Joe was needing until the very last run of the session. With all the star cars qualifying together, “Front Row Joe” went out mid pack following the #21 Wood Brothers machine driven by Johnny Sauter. On Sauter’s qualifying effort he lost control of the Wood Brothers #21 Chevrolet in the middle of turns one and two and slammed into the outside wall. Debris and fluid from Sauter’s car found its way onto the track. Las Vegas Motor Speedway Track Crew worked aggressively to get the raceway cleared of fluids leaving the team concerned that the track crew’s efforts would compromise the handling of Joe’s car in turns one and two.
Nemechek started his qualifying run going out 42nd out of the 47 cars anticipating making the race, he laid down a lap of 30.451. The #78 Furniture Row Racing team’s efforts would not be enough to make the field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After qualifying Joe said, “the back end of the car was just way loose. I drove it in harder and was able to pick the throttle early but then the car just slid up the race track.” Joe Garone says, “Yes the track had been slick in one and two and we lost time sliding through it, but we didn’t do a good job of giving Joe a car that would make the race, that was evident in the practice speeds. We flat didn’t understand what the car wanted until it was too late in the practice session. This is not where we want to be in the standings as we move into race 4 at Atlanta, however the team is testing and working hard to learn what the new COT car wants on these 1 ½ mile tracks. I am confident we will find the formula we need to achieve our goals.” Facing the Kobalt Tools 500 this weekend the #78 Furniture Row Racing team and Joe Nemechek look optimistic. At this race last year Joe finished in the top twenty and hopes to do even better this year with the team headed in a better direction.