Nadeau leaves Hendrick

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2002

ATLANTA -- Tony Furr was first to go from Hendrick Motor sports' No. 25 UAW Chevrolet.

Now it's Jerry Nadeau's turn.

Less than a month after the crew chief resigned from one of the most successful racing teams on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit, the driver was fired late Wednesday.

''Jerry has shown some flashes of brilliance while driving for us over the past two and a half years,'' said team president John Hendrick. ''As a team, we just have not been able to find the kind of consistency that it takes to be successful in this ever-increasingly competitive sport.''

Hendrick said the team hasn't decided who will drive the car at next week's all-star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Char lotte, N.C. He also suggested a permanent replacement might not be selected until after the season, so ownership can pick from a bigger pool of talent.

Nadeau quickly picked up a racing assignment by agreeing to drive Johnny Benson's Pontiac at The Winston on May 18. Benson suffered a broken rib a week ago in a Busch Series race at Richmond, Va.

Nadeau won a single race the season-finale at Atlanta in 2000 in 81 starts for Hendrick.

Nadeau said the decision to part ways was mutual.

''After we sat down and evaluated the situation, it was obvious that we were not making the kind of progress we owe our fans and sponsors, and (we) decided it would be best to go our separate ways,'' he said.

Nadeau is 28th in the point standings.

READY, SET, FLUSH: Part of the prerace festivities for The Winston all-star race and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway included a simultaneous flush of nearly 3,000 toilets at the massive speedway.

Raceway officials wanted to simulate ''peak demand'' at the raceway to show it can handle the more than 450,000 fans ex pected during 10 days of racing.

The speedway has its own water and sewage infrastructure, and officials invited fans to attend the group flush Tuesday night and participate by manning one of the toilets.

MOST POPULAR DRIVER: More ballots already have been received for NASCAR's Most Popular Driver than any other year, and the majority of them favor third-generation driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

With seven months remaining in the voting, more than 500,000 ballots have been tabulated at

While no numbers were announced, Earnhardt leads the voting, followed by 15-time most-popular winner Bill Elliott in second, Tony Stewart in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth and Mark Martin in fifth.

PIT STOPS: President George W. Bush will be the grand marshal for The Winston all-star race. . . . David Green will drive Benson's Busch Series car Saturday at New Hampshire.

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