DOVER, Del. (Sept. 21, 2004) - With his birthday falling on the same day of Sunday's (Sept. 26) Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway, Joe Nemechek is hoping the Monster Mile will be a little kinder to him. Nemechek was referring to...
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 21, 2004) - With his birthday falling on the same day of Sunday's (Sept. 26) Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway, Joe Nemechek is hoping the Monster Mile will be a little kinder to him.
Nemechek was referring to the cyclical and harrowing results he has had at Dover. After three consecutive seventh place finishes, Nemechek has not fared better than 23rd in the last five Dover races. At the June event, the U.S. Army driver got spun out and crashed into the wall, ending his day on Lap 156 of 400.
"We're not on the good end of the cycle in regards to Dover, but that could easily change this weekend," said Nemechek, who will turn 41. "Dover is a challenging oval and I have plenty of respect for the track. I've had a few encounters with the wall there and it can hurt. Hopefully the track will be gentler to me on my birthday."
The most serious of Nemechek's crashes at Dover came during a test session in May of 2001. He cut a right-front tire between Turns 3 and 4, resulting in the car slamming into the wall. He suffered fractures to his right scapula (shoulder blade), ribs and elbow. The injuries forced him to miss five Cup races.
"As I have said, I have a ton of respect for the track," offered Nemechek. "But those incidents will not stop me from being aggressive in the U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet. You can't let the past enter your race-day psyche. If you do, you'll be in big trouble."
Nemechek remains upbeat following his sixth-place finish at the most recent Nextel Cup race in New Hampshire. He says he is on his own personal chase -- to continue strong performances that will put the U.S. Army team in contention for victory during the final nine races,
"I know 90 percent of the focus is on the 10 drivers vying for the championship, but that doesn't make me feel inferior by any means," said Nemechek. "The U.S. Army team is on its own chase. Our goal is simply to be in the hunt at each race. I am really pumped about the homestretch because I feel we're going to tracks that we should do well at and hopefully pull out a win."