well i didnt get to see to much of the race as i had to work then after that i went and relaxed by the pool so i'll jsut let nascar do the talking. but sterling marlin was in the lead until he blew a water pump belt &power steering which he fixed came back out for liek 10 laps then the car jsut quit so he was out of the race.
SONOMA, Calif. -- Jerry Nadeau never saw Ricky Rudd cross the finish line in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
That's because his head was bowed as he slowly exited his No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge as it sat inside the road course, the victim of rear-end gear failure.
Two minutes earlier, Nadeau had been the one on the way toVictory Lane as he led Rudd by nearly four seconds with onlytwo laps to go.
Nadeau, a one-race fill-in for Steve Grissom, was bidding for his first victory since 2000 and the first win for Petty Enterprises since 1999. Instead, he finished 34th, while Rudd left to celebratehis first win of the year.
It was an ironic twist for Rudd, who lost chances for victory at Dover and Pocono when bad luck victimized him. This time, he was the benefactor.
"We were not going to catch him," said Rudd, who won theinaugural Winston Cup event at the 1.99-mile road course in1989. "I hate to win it this way, but we will take it." "We have lost some races under similar conditions. He pulledover, we won the race. It's not something you brag about."
Nadeau could barely hide his disappointment in the garage area following the race.
"It always seems to happen to me," Nadeau said. "I'll tell you what -- the guys gave me an
awesome race car. I guess we had the race won. All of a sudden, I spun the gear and blew the rear end."
Pole-sitter Tony Stewart was second, 2.487
seconds behind Rudd, and Terry Labonte
finished third after staying out on the track as the field made their final pit stops. It was Labonte's first top-five finish since 2001.
"It's all track position," said Labonte, who
started 39th. "We knew we had a better car than
Kurt Busch ran in the top five most of the day
and finished fourth. Jeff Green finished fifth after also electing to retain track position on the final
stop. Green scored his first top-five finish of the year.
"I never dreamed my first top-five of the year would be on a road course," said Green, who scored
just the second top-five of the year for Richard Childress Racing. "That was a great call to stay
out there with old tires." Staying out was exactly the strategy Nadeau used to gain the lead on lap 85, when all thefront-runners dove onto pit road for the final stop.
The race stayed green the rest of the way,
allowing those who stayed out to keep valuable
Rudd had taken on four tires on the final stop
and came out eighth, but his black No. 28
Havoline Ford came through the field with five laps to go.
Rudd had set his sights on Nadeau, who hadovercome a mid-race spin.However, Rudd would not have caught Nadeau, whose car had run exceptionally well at the front of the pack while Rudd was left to deal with heavy traffic. "Jerry Nadeau made the right call," Rudd said. "Track position was so important. We had to race a lot of cars to get back to the pack." On lap 108, Nadeau eased his car into Turn 11 and began thesteep right-hand turn when the gear locked up. His car swung
around and came to rest inside the track on the turn that was once known as "Gilligan's Island."
Nadeau's career is in limbo after being handed his release fromHendrick Motorsports last month. He will drive a MichaelWaltrip-owned car atChicago next month but has no other immediate plans.
"That's kind of the way my career has gone," said Nadeau, who lost a victory at Atlanta last fall when he ran out of gas on the final lap. "I had a five-second lead. I'm humble about it."
Jeff Gordon led more laps than anyone else -- 30 -- but his rear-end gear failed and he lost seven laps in the garage as his crew made repairs. He finished 37th.
Points leader Sterling Marlin's day ended early when he lost the
power steering and water pump belts on lap 11, then returned to the track only to have the
engine on his Dodge expire shortly thereafter. He finished last.
-courtesy of nascar.com