Nemechek, Kansas Speedway Part of Chase Trivia
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sept. 27, 2006) -- Here's a three-part trivia question. Who was the first non-Chase driver to win a race during the 10-event Nextel Cup championship schedule? What year and at what track was this feat accomplished?
If you answered -- Joe Nemechek - 2004 - Kansas Speedway -- you qualify as a NASCAR expert. The three answers are correct.
There have been 22 Chase races since the championship format began in 2004 and only five drivers not participating in the Chase have claimed a victory. Along with Nemechek the others were: Greg Biffle (Homestead, 2004), Dale Jarrett (Talladega, 2005), Jeff Gordon (Martinsville, 2005) and Kyle Busch (Phoenix, 2005).
"I never realized I was the first," said Nemechek, driver of the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. "I am not sure if it has any significance, but I guess it's always nice to be an answer to a positive trivia question."
"Even though Chase drivers might be a little more conservative, it is evident by the statistics that they're still the guys to beat," added Nemechek. "There's a reason why they're in the Chase and favored to win races. They have had their act together week in and week out."
When asked if he treats Chase drivers any differently on the track, Nemechek said, "I think it's only natural to give a Chase driver a little more respect. After all, you don't want to be the cause of costing a fellow competitor a championship and millions of dollars."
With the Nextel Cup circuit heading to Kansas Speedway for this weekend's Banquet 400, Nemechek lights up when questioned about that magical Kansas weekend he had in 2004 in which he not only won the Cup race, but also the Cup pole and the Busch Series event.
"Kansas will always hold a special fondness for me," offered Nemechek. "They say those weekends like I had in Kansas are a once in a lifetime happening. Well, I hope that's not true, but whatever happens from here on in at Kansas, I will always cherish that weekend as one of the most memorable of my career."
With eight races remaining in the 2006 season Nemechek said his Army team could use a lift.
"We've been struggling and need to finish off the season with something positive," said Nemechek. "I am banking on Kansas Speedway to give us that boost."
-credit: mb2 motorsports