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NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Winston Cup

NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

Jerry Nadeau
January 18, 2003


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

Q. How is everything shaping up with this team and what's the outlook for 2003.

JERRY NADEAU: It's pretty good. I will tell you what, the last couple of weeks I went to Afghanistan and Kuwait to see the troops. The Army has been keeping me pretty busy, went to San Antonio, to the Army Bowl. It's been an unbelievable experience. My dad served in the Army. I never really got a good feel of what it's all about until I went overseas and got to see the guys on the front line, shot some weapons, drove the tanks, and did a lot of neat things. I'm looking forward to the year. We had a great test at Homestead which was the last race of the year in November, and I got to drive the new Pontiacs. And really look forward to the year. It's going to be a great season for us. I'm glad to have Ryan Pemberton on the board, he is a great guy. I worked with him in '99. We had some great races back then. And I feel with the experience that I have had the last few years and his experience I think we're going to have a great season.

Q. When you went over there to visit the troops did you get a sense that there is a lot of passion for the military? Did they respond to you well?

JERRY NADEAU: Yes, I would have never thought there would have been so many fans. You hear these F-16's, tanks driving by, guys with weapons, there are so many racing fans. When we did some autograph sessions out there guys had magazine, books, t-shirts ready to go. That means a lot. When you are there it's more of an honor to meet them than it is for them to meet you because of what they do. We spoke, God, we probably spoke four hours a day; plus we signed probably four hours a day so we were working all day long. We were up at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning for six or seven days straight. We wouldn't get to bed until midnight or 2 o'clock in the morning. We didn't sleep well because we didn't have heat in our tents. We kept busy, we hung out with the troops. We got to feel what they felt. Their spirits are high. Some of guys that have been there for six, seven months are tired and are ready to come home and see their family and see the kids. Then there are some guys that came in that are ready to go. They are always alternating; they are always getting fresh troops, keeping their optimism high. I think everybody is looking forward to getting this crisis over.

Q. This is kind of a different sponsorship type thing, you don't get to talk to guys in suits. Does it seem more serious to you than the sponsorship relationship?

JERRY NADEAU: You can go out and buy Budweiser and Snickers, but you can't buy experience like you can through the Army. That's an experience. It's a totally different deal and I think that's what kept me so wide-eyed when I was over there in Afghanistan because I was just learning so much about what the military does, and I think a lot of guys just took things for granted. It was just unbelievable. To hang out with General Keen who is a Four-Star General and he spoke to the troops and stood up there. And he gave a hell of a speech. We are going to kill those guys -- we are only seven miles away from Iraq. It was just an unbelievable experience. I got to bring back a lot of that back here to the states.

Q. Jerry, a lot of that puts everything in perspective of what we do back here; what you do as a race driver; what we do in the media, that sort of thing.

JERRY NADEAU: We are lucky to be doing what we are doing. We are lucky to be American, that's for sure. We have a strong military. They had 7, 800 tanks ready to go. Me and Bodine are giving demonstration runs in tanks seven miles from the border. That was pretty scary just doing that. Just like you said, it puts a lot of things in perspective of what we do and how lucky we are to be here.

Q. Do you have an opinion on the war effort, the military buildup in the Middle East?

JERRY NADEAU: I just hope we get this over. We missed the first time. We need to end this thing and get back to life. I think we are doing the right thing, that's for sure.

Q. When you go to a sponsor like the Army, will that reinvigorate your career after what happened last year?

JERRY NADEAU: Last year was a tough break. I got hurt there at the end of the year. Tony already asked me if I wanted to go-kart racing. In my contract I'm not allowed. It was a hell of a go-kart race. It didn't pay. But I'm sure I'll do it again. I had a tough year last year. I think, you know, everybody knows when Joe Nemechek got into his deal, it took him some time, finally we need to make a change here. Unfortunately, I was already gone then. I'm ready to start back over and being with MB2 Motor Sports and the Army, I feel this is going to be my best opportunity I ever had since being in Winston Cup.

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