"I either run well at Dover or I crash hard." Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Driver DOVER COULD OFFER MORE EXCITEMENT FOR NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM DOVER, Del. (May 31, 2005) -- If the last two weekends of racing...
"I either run well at Dover or I crash hard."
Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Driver
DOVER COULD OFFER MORE EXCITEMENT FOR NEMECHEK, U.S. ARMY TEAM
DOVER, Del. (May 31, 2005) -- If the last two weekends of racing were wild and wacky for Joe Nemechek, there is no telling what looms for the U.S. Army driver in Sunday's Nextel Cup event -- the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway.
In recent years, the Dover Monster Mile and its concrete walls have provided plenty of hair-raising excitement for Nemechek.
"I either run well at Dover or I crash hard," said a candid Nemechek. "I'm not sure what's in store for our Army team this weekend. But I can tell you this -- the spunk, the character and the never-quit attitude we showed the past two weeks will continue."
Nemechek is coming off two emotional weekends of racing in Charlotte, N.C. He was involved in a controversial accident in the Nextel All-Star Challenge and then the following week he fell a few laps short of winning the Coca-Cola 600.
With nine laps remaining in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Nemechek appeared to have a comfortable lead on the 1.5 mile oval. But on Lap 392 of 400, a flat tire ended any hopes of a trip to Victory Lane.
"That hurt, but we'll get over it and get ready to challenge for the win at Dover," said Nemechek.
In the last three races at Dover, the one-mile track has not been a friendly venue for Nemechek.
Last year, he did not finish either of the Dover races. In the June event, he crashed into the wall after being hit from behind. His day ended on Lap 138 of 400. In the second race, Nemechek once again retired early -- Lap 91 of 400 -- due to a punctured radiator.
And in the fall race of 2003, Nemechek, while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, hit the Dover wall so hard that the race was red-flagged for 27 laps to repair the barrier.
But those past three races in Dover were pretty tame compared to what Nemechek encountered during a Busch test session in May of 2001.
As he was exiting Turn 3 on the all-concrete surface, Nemechek's car violently slammed into the wall leaving him with fractures to his right scapula (shoulder blade), ribs and elbow. The injuries forced him to miss five Cup races.
"I like the Dover track, but it's been a nemesis for me lately," said Nemechek. "I guess it's time to break the jinx. I've had some good runs there so I know it's not my psyche that has caused the recent problems."
It should be noted that it hasn't been all crashes and smoke for Nemechek in Dover. He has had his share of success there with five top-10 finishes, including a fourth and three seventh-place results. He also won the June, 2003 Busch race at the Monster Mile.
"I feel we're on the brink of something good for this Army team," offered Nemechek. "It's going to happen and when it does, we're going to win races. I can feel it. The Army pride and the Army work ethic have been contagious to our team."