Nemechek Begins Second Tour of Duty
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 26, 2004) -- This weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway marks the one-year anniversary for Joe Nemechek as the driver of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.
The Lakeland, Fla. native, who has been a regular on the Cup circuit since 1994, made an auspicious debut in the Army car when he qualified eighth and finished 10th in last year's Atlanta race.
"We clicked right away," said Nemechek. "I could sense then that this was going to be a great ride because I was surrounded by a talented group of people and an organization (MB2) that was committed to putting together a strong race team. That feeling has never wavered and I feel even more optimistic today about this Army/USG team than I did one year ago."
Nemechek and the 01 team took its licks while going through a learning curve, but as with all successful teams, they persevered while believing in each other.
"We went through some difficult times by not taking advantage of strong performances," explained Nemechek. "But we always seemed to pick ourselves up and go to the next race with more confidence. And this is the way we now feel heading into Atlanta after a disappointing finish in Martinsville."
Last week's 30th-place result at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway is being looked at by Nemechek and the Army of One team as only a detour in their late-season charge that has produced one win, two top fives, four top 10s and two poles in the last six races.
"We had a pretty good car in Martinsville, but got clipped one too many times," commented Nemechek. "That was last week -- it's in the past. Right now I am looking forward to Atlanta -- it's fast there and that's what we like. You never know until you unload, but my gut says we're going to be good there."
Nemechek's crew chief, Ryan Pemberton, feels the team has come a long way in one year.
"We were excited last year at this time going into 2004 with Joe as our driver," recalled Pemberton. "And right now we're even more excited about this team going into 2005. We feel optimistic at every track we go to. And if we're not running well initially, we have the confidence that we can fix it."
"We have great communication and trust on this team," Pemberton continued. "When it comes to tuning a car, we all need a sounding board and Joe's input is valuable. We don't agree to agree. When a decision is made, we support it, sign off on it and live by it. Second guessing is dangerous in racing as it is in any form of business."