Fontana II: Joe Nemechek preview

California Payback Couldn't Come At Better Time For Nemechek FONTANA, Calif. (Aug. 29, 2006) -- On paper, Joe Nemechek should have a solid run at this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at California Speedway. But with the bizarre incidents that...

California Payback Couldn't Come At Better Time For Nemechek

FONTANA, Calif. (Aug. 29, 2006) -- On paper, Joe Nemechek should have a solid run at this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at California Speedway.

But with the bizarre incidents that Nemechek has encountered recently, the only prediction hewill give about Sunday's Sony HD 500 is that his 01 Army team will continue to do battle with great intensity.

"If you want me to guarantee a finish -- forget it," offered Nemechek. "Until we get rid of the voodoo, I am being very cautious about any future races. The only thing I know is that we'll give it more than 100 percent.We've had more bad thingshappen to us the past month than I care to recall. A number of strong potential finishes went south in a hurry."

Nemechek added, "The good news for the Army Chevrolet team is that we have a remarkable group of guys who always possess a competitive andpositive attitude. They have the same attitude as oursoldiers, who are fighting every day for our freedom."

Nemechek knows that the two-mile California Speedway suits his style of racing, much like its sister track of Michigan International Speedway.

"Californiashould be a good track for us -- it's a lot like Michigan -- and we had a good runin Michigan a couple of weeks ago until I scraped the wall while battling for track position with Jeff Gordon," noted Nemechek, who claimed the pole atCalifornia Speedway's inaugural Cup race in June, 1997.

Though Nemechek doesn't like to dwell on the past, it's still hard for him not to forget how close he came to winning at California in February, 2005. He not only led the most laps in the race, but his performance was dominantuntil his engine blew.

"That was hard toaccept," said Nemechek. "It was afluke deal with the engine and it probably cost us a victory. I would love to be in that position again on Sunday -- leading the race by a comfortable margin. You would be surprised how fast these cars can go in clean air."

But for all his strong performances at California, something would always seem to go awry for Nemechek. Like the time in May,r004 when he had a top-10 finish in the bag, but ran out of fuel with two laps remaining.

"It's time to end the jinx -- both at California and with our 2006 season," said Nemechek.

-credit: mb2m

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Joe Nemechek