While Frenzy is About Teammate Schedule, Nemechek Quietly Off to Best Start 7th in points is Nemechek's highest entering third race of season LAS VEGAS (March 6, 2007) -- While there has been a public and media frenzy on whether his teammate...
While Frenzy is About Teammate Schedule, Nemechek Quietly Off to Best
7th in points is Nemechek's highest entering third race of season
LAS VEGAS (March 6, 2007) -- While there has been a public and media frenzy on whether his teammate will run a full schedule or not, Joe Nemechek is quietly off to his best start in the Nextel Cup Series.
Driving the No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet forGinn Racing, Nemechek enters this weekend's Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in seventh place in the point standings. It's the highest-ever standing position for the 13-year Cup veteranentering the third race of the season.
With Nemechek holding down seventh place in thestandings, it gives Ginn Racing two drivers in the top 10. The other top-10 Ginn driver is points leader Mark Martin, whose 2007 racing schedule hasbeen the center of media speculation.
"Mark has been a huge asset to the Ginn Racing team," said Nemechek. "He has assisted all of us in many ways, including his valuable input with the car setup. Both teams -- our No. 13 and Mark's No. 1 -- are off to strong starts andthe plan is to keep it that way. And the No. 14 (Sterling Marlin's team) has had good performances, but bad luck has hurt them."
"I know Mark has been getting pestered pretty hard with the same question about his upcoming schedule," continued Nemechek. But he's a pro and will handle the attention with the same kind of ease as he does with a race car. We're all happy for his success -- nobody deserves it more."
Nemechek earned his way into NASCAR's exclusive top 10 with finishes of ninth and 14th in the first two races of the season at Daytona and California Speedway in Fontana.
"Of course it feels good tobe where we are in points," offered Nemechek, who was 32nd at this time last year. "But it's early and you can't get too caught up in the attention. We're doing well, but with our situation of needing to qualify we know we can't lose the focus and spirit that this CertainTeed team has had the past two races."
Nemechek is cautiously optimistic about the Las Vegas race where he has posted two top-10 performances in nine races at the 1.5-mile oval. Last year, he finished 13th.
"Though Las Vegas is a different track with a new configuration,I still feel we can be a factor there," said Nemechek, who drove the 01 Chevy for Ginn Racing from October 2003 to the completion of the 2006 season. "We came close to winning the Vegas race two years ago, but a tire issue in the closing laps sent us to the middle of the pack (19th)."
Since Nemechek is part of a new team with Ginn Racing, he doesn't have the required 2006 owner points to gain an automatic qualifying berth in the first five races of 2007. He will be among approximately 16 drivers in Las Vegas vying for the seven open qualifying spots.
"Once you qualify, it'slike winning a race," noted Nemechek. "The pressure is immense - no other way to say it. There is so much effort and money put into the program that you never want to let down your teammates and sponsors. Never."
Under the crew chief direction of Peter Sospenzo, Nemechek's No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet has had starting positions of 18 and 26 at the first two races.
"In our position, it is so hard to even think about Sunday when we get to the track," said Nemechek. "It's Friday's qualifying session that has our primary focus."