Atlanta: Joe Nemechek preview

Nemechek Aims To Take His Atlanta Streak Up A Notch CENTRIX Financial To Be Primary Sponsor of 01 Car in Atlanta ATLANTA (March 15, 2005) -- With a new look on his 01 Chevrolet for Sunday's Golden Corral 500, Joe Nemechek is aiming to improve...

Nemechek Aims To Take His Atlanta Streak Up A Notch

CENTRIX Financial To Be Primary Sponsor of 01 Car in Atlanta

ATLANTA (March 15, 2005) -- With a new look on his 01 Chevrolet for Sunday's Golden Corral 500, Joe Nemechek is aiming to improve on a successful Atlanta Motor Speedway streak.

The primary sponsorship on Nemechek's car in Atlanta will be the blue, white and gold colors of CENTRIX Financial. The U.S. Army, Nemechek's major sponsor for 34 of the 36 point races, will take on an associate role during this weekend's Nextel Cup event.

In the last five races on Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.54-mile oval, Nemechek has averaged an eighth-place finish. The record includes two top-five and four top-10 results.

In his most recent race at Atlanta -- Oct. 31 -- Nemechek nearly spooked the field by winning the event, but came up a little short in the closing laps with a fourth-place result.

His best finish at Atlanta was second in October of 2002.

"No question, Atlanta has always been one of my favorite tracks," said Nemechek, who joined the 01 team in Atlanta at the 2003 fall race. "I've come close to winning there a few times and feel this could be the weekend. We've been flirting with a win at the past two races (California and Las Vegas) but the gremlins got the best of us in the end.

"Anyone who has watched those last two races knows that this team has the potential to pull out a win on any given Sunday or Saturday night for that matter."

Speaking of the last two Nextel Cup races, Nemechek led a race-high of 63 laps in California before his engine failed. And in Las Vegas, Nemechek was running third when he took his final pit stop with 43 laps remaining. But a pit road miscue and an unexplained tight-handling racecar dropped him to a disappointing 19th-place finish.

"In football terms, we have had flashes of a great offense, but had too many turnovers," explained Nemechek. "We squandered a couple of great opportunities. But this is a resilient team that will bounce back."

According to Nemechek, in order for the No. 01 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet to run up front on the super-fast Atlanta track the entire package -- aerodynamics, engine and handling -- need to perform at 100 percent.

"Balance is critical, because in order to do well at Atlanta you need to hammer down on the gas," Nemechek said.

The good news for Nemechek is the car being brought to Atlanta is the same Chevrolet that he led the field with in California.

"That was an awesome car we had in California and I don't see why it should be any different this weekend." said Nemechek, who qualified on the outside pole in the last race at Atlanta. "We have the package to be successful. We just need to make sure that all of the pieces work together."

Qualifying for Sunday's race will take place Friday night. NASCAR will then impound the cars after qualifying and not reopen the Cup garage until Sunday morning. Cup teams will have Saturday off.

"Having Saturday off is going to be a weird feeling for the crew," said Ryan Pemberton, crew chief of the 01 team. "We all hope this experimenting will eventually lead to a two-day show without any days off -- just like the two-day shows in Richmond and the summer race in Bristol."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek