Michigan II: Joe Nemechek preview

Forget The Results, It's the Recent Performances That Have Nemechek Feeling Confident BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 16, 2006) -- Joe Nemechek is not an eternal optimist, he is a realist. And when he says his U.S. Army team is on the rebound, it's...

Forget The Results, It's the Recent Performances That Have Nemechek Feeling Confident

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 16, 2006) -- Joe Nemechek is not an eternal optimist, he is a realist. And when he says his U.S. Army team is on the rebound, it's not a well-orchestrated script of public relations flak. He truly believes that success will happen sooner rather than later to the 01 team.

With that said, the question begs -- what does the confident Nemechek base his feelings on? It obviously can't be the recent results of 42nd (Watkins Glen), 24th (Indianapolis), 17th (Pocono) and 41st (New Hampshire).

"You can't go by the finishes to give an honest evaluation," said Nemechek. "It's the overall performance that you need to look at. There are so many things that are out of your control that can adversely affect the final result.

"Just look at our last four races. We had good performances -- much better than the finishes showed. But we just had bad luck and seemed to be a victim of someone else's mess or mistake."

Looking back at those four races, Nemechek has a valid point.

In New Hampshire, he was solidly running in the top six until he got turned around and crashed on Lap 201 of 300.

In Pocono, a potential top-10 finish faded for Nemechek in the closing laps with a loose-handling car. And in the Indianapolis, Nemechek was pumped about his car, but two laps into the race, his Army Chevy got hit, suffering extensive aerodynamic damage.

Last week in Watkins Glen, he went from a starting position of 37 to 16 before he got clipped from behind, sending the 01 car into the tire barrier just past the halfway mark of the race.

And if that weren't bad enough, a few laps later Nemechek was in the middle of a seven-car melee, which ended his day prematurely.

"Yes, it's aggravating and I feel bad for the team and our sponsors," said Nemechek. "But I do know we are improving and we have to continue what we've been doing. We're like our brave soldiers, who continue the fight and never throw in the towel."

The good news for Nemechek is that Michigan International Speedway, site of this weekend's Nextel Cup race, has been a good track for the Army team.

In the two races at MIS last year, Nemechek posted finishes of sixth and eighth. In this year's June race, which was shortened due to rain, Nemechek claimed a 24th-place result.

"Michigan has been one of our better tracks," said Nemechek. "In June we were starting to get better when the rain came. We never had a chance to make a late-race charge. I know we're close to having our breakthrough race of the year."

-credit: mb2m

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek