Daytona 500: GM Media Day - Nemechek

February 5, 2004: Highlights of Driver Q&A Sessions with the Media at Daytona International Speedway. JOE NEMECHEK , NO. 01 US ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP "I don't think it really matters. The rules have ...

February 5, 2004: Highlights of Driver Q&A Sessions with the Media at Daytona International Speedway.

JOE NEMECHEK , NO. 01 US ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

ON THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP "I don't think it really matters. The rules have changed a little bit but you still have to do the best you can at each race. If you're consistent, you're going to be up there in the front. The points pay for consistency. There are pros and cons to the whole thing, but we're just going to have to see how it plays out. Giving more points for winning races is good. That should have been done a long time ago. You've just got to make sure all the focus isn't just on the top 10 running for the championship and none on all the other guys running there. All these sponsors spend a lot of money. But it gets back to performance. If you perform, you're going to be getting exposure. I think it's going to put more emphasis on performance."

Joe Nemechek.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
DO YOU THINK DAYTONA SHOULD BE THE LAST RACE OF THE SEASON? "I've been saying that for a long time. It would be a tough thing coming to a restrictor plate race for the last race - only because you could have a wreck on Lap 2 and take out half the field and then what kind of a race is it? There are pros and cons to everything."

WITH RICHMOND BEING THE 26TH RACE, WILL THE FOCUS ON THAT RACE CHANGE? "I didn't even know it was Richmond. You have to perform. The biggest part of this whole deal is using your tests the best. Do you use them all up before you get to that point? Do you save some? There's a lot of strategy on how you burn your tests up."

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DAYTONA 500 "This is our Super Bowl. Being from right down the road (Lakeland), I call this the hometown track. It's close to Lakeland. I've had some success here in the Busch Series. I also had a pole here for the July race. But I've never been on the front row for the 500. It would be nice to qualify up there but it's going to be tough. The competition is tough. But the US Army Chevy team has worked hard and I think you're going to see results.

"I remember coming over here as a kid with my family and going up in the stands and watching the races. Daytona is neat. It's neat to be the one putting on the show now. It's a tough race track. With restrictor plate racing, the rules change every year. They're trying to improve the quality of racing and it's tough. A lot of this is out of your control. Somebody makes a mistake and all of a sudden you're caught up in it. But being close to Lakeland it good. It's a tough place to have success. It's more about equipment. You've got to have the car to get to the front."

HOW DO YOU STAY CALM WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN ALL AROUND YOU? "You're doing everything you can do. A lot of that is out of your hands. You drive as best as you can and if luck is on your side you'll make it through and you'll go on to have a good finish."

AS A DRIVER AND ALSO A TEAM OWNER, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE HIGH COST OF NASCAR RACING "The costs keep going up every year. When you're in this to be competitive and win races, you have to have the funds to let you do the things you need to do. The bottom line is that you need to make sure you have the resources and the people and the funding and whatever you need to get the job done. The team members know and the owners know what they have to have to accomplish their goals. You just have to try and do the best you can with what you have."

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek , Eric Gilbert