Darlington: Joe Nemechek preview

NEMECHEK HOPES TO DO HIS MOTHER'S DAY SHOPPING AT THE TRACK DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 3, 2005) -- Martha Nemechek, mother of U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek, knows what the perfect Mother's Day gift would be. Ever since Joe starting racing ...

NEMECHEK HOPES TO DO HIS MOTHER'S DAY SHOPPING AT THE TRACK

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 3, 2005) -- Martha Nemechek, mother of U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek, knows what the perfect Mother's Day gift would be.

Ever since Joe starting racing motorcycles at the age of 13, Martha has seen her son win many times. But what she hasn't seen in person is Joe winning a Cup race.

"I've been there for his Busch wins, but I have never been at the track when he has won a Cup race," said Martha. "That is my personal goal to be in Victory Lane when he wins a Cup race."

With Mother's Day on Sunday, Martha is hoping to get her wish when Nemechek and his U.S. Army Chevrolet challenge the daunting 1.366-mile oval Saturday night at Darlington Raceway.

"A victory in Darlington would be the ultimate Mother's Day present," said Martha. "If it happens -- that would be super special. But if it doesn't -- that's okay too because I know that Joey gave it his best -- he's never given anything less ever since he started to compete in racing. My husband (Joe) and I are very proud of him as are my daughter (Marti) and son (Mark)."

Martha will be among a group of mothers attending the race. The mothers will escort their sons across the stage during prerace introductions and join them in a truck for a parade lap around the egg-shaped oval. The mothers will also give the famous starting command that will be altered to -- "Sons and Drivers Start Your Engines."

"That is so nice of the track to include the mothers," said Martha. "It will be a proud moment to walk across the stage with my son."

It is safe to say that Martha is the most recognized mother in the Cup garage. When she attends a race her attire includes desert camouflage fatigues, a drill sergeant hat and combat boots. All in support of her son's primary sponsor -- the U.S. Army.

The lettering and patches on her uniform include -- G.I. Joe's Mom, That's My Boy and a special patch in honor of her son John, who died five days after being involved in an accident in the 1997 NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"When I first saw my Mom come to the race with her fatigues I said to myself, 'Holy Moly -- what do we have here," ' said Nemechek. "But it's cool. She is a special Mom and I wouldn't be where I am without her lifelong support. A win Saturday night and having Mom in Victory Lane would be pretty neat for the Nemechek family and the Army race team."

A giving and caring person, Martha is a favorite among the soldiers. If it's at the track it's Martha they want to hang out with. Or, if a soldier -- home or abroad -- needs someone to correspond with, Martha is always there.

"I love all of the soldiers," said Martha. "They are so special and they are the ones who are protecting our freedom. It's an honor for me to correspond with them."

The number of e-mails that Martha receives from the troops all over the world is overwhelming. Because of her busy schedule as a wife, mother and grandmother, Martha doesn't open her computer until 10 p.m. and usually doesn't shut it off until 2 a.m. or later.

"That's my corresponding time," explained Martha. "If I can help our troops in any way then I am a very happy person."

Along with baking pastries for the race team, it is not uncommon for Martha to send her goodies to soldiers when the request is made.

And when Martha is not baking or caring for her family or corresponding with the troops, there's a good chance you will find her in the garage polishing her son's car and helping the crew push the car to pit road.

"I love being around people," said Martha. "Racing continues to be a big part of my life."

And a victory by son Joe on Mother's Day eve will make it an even happier time for Martha Nemechek.

-mb2m-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek