Nemechek Battles On; Finishes 17th in Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. (July 23, 2006) -- Joe Nemechek continues to head in the right direction as the U.S. Army driver posted a 17th-place finish in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 Nextel Cup race.

"It wasn't great, but for the third straight race we learned a lot and we're starting to see better performances," offered Nemechek.

It's not that Nemechek and crew chief Ryan Pemberton are happy about finishing 17. What pleases them is the continued improvement of the 01 Army Chevrolet.

"We were a whole lot better here today than we were back in June," said Nemechek, who finished 29 in last month's race at Pocono Raceway. "The first half of the season was miserable, but that's behind us and it's only going to get better in the homestretch."

Nemechek, who started the 200-lap, 500-mile race from the 10th position, had a shot at a top-10 finish. Before the final pit stop with approximately 20 laps remaining on the 2.5-mile tri-oval, Nemechek was running 13th. But when the race restarted for the final green-flag run, the Army Chevy got a little loose and dropped a few spots in track position.

"The car was sliding and didn't quite have the grip that was needed to make a charge," explained Nemechek. "The car was getting better, but we just ran out of laps. The Army Chevy was much better on the long runs today. As I said, today's finish wasn't great, but it was decent. We're a spirited team and will continue to live by the Army creed of never quitting."

The Nextel Cup circuit has next weekend off. The series will resume Sunday, Aug. 6 with the running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.