NEMECHEK'S REJUVENATED CAREER STARTED IN ATLANTA ATLANTA (Oct. 25, 2005) -- It will be two years this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway that Joe Nemechek took over the U.S. Army ride. His debut in the MB2 Motorsports entry turned out to be a...
NEMECHEK'S REJUVENATED CAREER STARTED IN ATLANTA
ATLANTA (Oct. 25, 2005) -- It will be two years this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway that Joe Nemechek took over the U.S. Army ride. His debut in the MB2 Motorsports entry turned out to be a precursor to what has since transpired for the veteran driver and the 01 team.
Nemechek came out of the gate fast, finishing 10th in the 2003 fall race in Atlanta. It was evident to both Nemechek and crew chief Ryan Pemberton that they had a special chemistry.
"The learning curve was pretty short with Ryan and the team," said Nemechek. "We hit it off from the get go. I knew about Ryan's talents before I got the Army ride and was hoping someday that we would work together."
Since taking over as the Army driver with four races remaining in 2003, Nemechek has had a resurgence in his NASCAR Cup career that started full-time in 1994.
"I've been with some good teams, but this is the best team I've been associated with," said Nemechek. "We all get along, have fun, have great communications and have trust in each other. The MB2 organization provides us with everything we need to be competitive week in and week out."
"The two years with Joe as our driver have gone by fast -- which is a good sign," said Pemberton. "He's done a great job -- Joe's like a 20-year-old when it comes to energy and enthusiasm. And his knowledge of the racecar is a huge help when we discuss setups."
Nemechek is currently on pace for having his best career season finish in the Nextel Cup standings. He enters this weekend's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 13th place, well within reach of the magic 11th spot for non-Chase drivers. His best season Cup finish was 15th in 2000.
"I have mixed feelings about this season," said Nemechek. "I truly feel that we've had the performance to be in the Chase. But we've had too many bad breaks."
Nemechek and Pemberton are cautiously optimistic about Sunday's race. Atlanta has been a good track for Nemechek, who knows he can win at the 1.54-mile super fast oval.
"We've been in position to win the last two times at Atlanta," noted Nemechek.
In last year's October race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Nemechek's Army Chevrolet challenged for the victory but fell short with a fourth-place finish. In this year's spring race, Nemechek was again in position to challenge for the win, but with fewer than 50 laps remaining in the 500-mile event, track debris got into the car's radiator, which eventually led to engine failure.
"We know what it takes to be strong at Atlanta," offered Nemechek. "It's a track where car balance is critical. You have to hammer down on the gas to run up front."
Joining the 01 team was not only a great career move for Nemechek, but it also presented him with a special sponsor in the U.S. Army.
"I have the best sponsor in the garage," said Nemechek. "I take immense pride in knowing that we represent more than one million American soldiers who are protecting our liberties every single day. The men and women of the U.S. Army are my heroes."