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Nemechek wins wild BGN race

©Associated Press
March 30, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Joe Nemechek got his second Busch series win Saturday in the O'Reilly 300, crossing the finish under caution in an event marred by two red flags at Texas Motor Speedway.

Nemechek led on the restart on the 196th of 200 laps in the O'Reilly 300 after the second red flag, brought out by a chain-reaction accident that involved 15 cars and caused a 22-minute stoppage.

On the second lap after the restart, Hermie Sadler spun and hit the wall after being bumped from behind by Regan Smith.

"It was definitely a wild finish," Nemechek said.

In postrace inspection NASCAR found a potential problem with a left front spring in Nemechek's No. 87 Ford. NASCAR won't take away the win but there could be a fine, loss of points or suspension if there's an infraction.

There were 48 laps run under 10 cautions, two more than the track record.

Bruce Bechtel's crash cracked a temporary retaining wall on the backstretch on the 171st lap and stopped the race for eight minutes.

Brian Vickers, who led a race-high 87 laps, led until the following restart, when he was black-flagged for passing Chad Blount before crossing the line, though it appeared Blount lost momentum and Vickers dipped down to avoid a wreck. Vickers served a stop-and-go penalty and fell to ninth.

Then on Lap191 Mike Bliss was tapped going into Turn1 and spun in front of the field. Vickers and a dozen more cars were caught up in the accident.

Series points leader Todd Bodine, who led at the time, was hit on the right rear and had a tire go flat as the field parked for the red flag. He wound up fourth.

COWIN IMPROVING: Andrew Cowin, the NHRA Top Fuel driver who fell from a truck onto his head Wednesday and was hospitalized in critical condition, stood up in his hospital room and was to be moved from intensive care at the Johnson City (Tenn.) Medical Center.

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