Phoenix: Joe Nemechek preview

Nemechek Not Ready For a Furlough PHOENIX (Nov. 2, 2004) - While the majority of racing personnel is looking forward to the grueling 36-race Nextel Cup schedule to conclude, Joe Nemechek is one driver who is not counting the days remaining in ...

Nemechek Not Ready For a Furlough

PHOENIX (Nov. 2, 2004) - While the majority of racing personnel is looking forward to the grueling 36-race Nextel Cup schedule to conclude, Joe Nemechek is one driver who is not counting the days remaining in the 2004 season.

"I'm having too much fun right now and not ready for a furlough," said Nemechek, driver of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.

As Nemechek heads to Phoenix International Raceway for this weekend's third to last race of the season, he will be taking plenty of momentum with him -- that coincidentally started the same time when the Chase for the Nextel Cup began, Sept. 19 in New Hampshire.

During the seven-race Chase run, Nemechek has posted one win, three top fives and five top 10s. And if you include all drivers' results since the beginning of the Chase, Nemechek would rank fifth with 942 points, six fewer than fourth-place Jimmie Johnson and 12 more than sixth-place Jeff Gordon.

Nemechek also remains the only driver who is not part of the Chase to win a race and claim a pole during the first seven events of NASCAR's new championship format. His victory was in Kansas and his poles were at Talladega and Kansas.

"We're on fire and we need to keep it that way," said Nemechek. "Our recent performances are not a surprise by any means. For the majority of the races this season, the U.S. Army/USG Chevy would run up front, but we usually didn't get the finishes we deserved. The cycle is finally in our favor.

"I'm really looking forward to Phoenix because the track is a combination of New Hampshire and Richmond - it's right up my alley. Those have been two good tracks for me."

For the record, Nemechek has won at both New Hampshire (September, 1999) and Richmond (May, 2003), but has never claimed a strong finish at Phoenix in 10 previous races.

"We had a good car last year in Phoenix, but an untimely pit stop cost us dearly," recalled Nemechek. "Just after we made our first stop under green, the caution came out and we dropped to the rear of the field, forcing us to play catch-up the rest of the race.

"There's really no reason for not having at least one top 10 at Phoenix. I like the track and feel very comfortable on it. I think I'm due for a good run in the desert. I have a talented support cast with our Army of One crew, which is led by (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton. I'm feeling upbeat about this weekend."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Joe Nemechek , Jimmie Johnson