Despite Accidents, Nemechek Still Fond of Dover Track DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2004) - Though he has had a couple of serious encounters with the wall at Dover International Speedway, Joe Nemechek doesn't harbor any bad feelings about the track. In...
Despite Accidents, Nemechek Still Fond of Dover Track
DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2004) - Though he has had a couple of serious encounters with the wall at Dover International Speedway, Joe Nemechek doesn't harbor any bad feelings about the track. In fact, the U.S. Army driver says the Dover Monster Mile is a special place, one of his favorite circuits on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule.
The most serious of Nemechek's crashes on the high-banked oval was in May of 2001 when he was testing his Busch car. He cut a right-front tire between Turns 3 and 4, resulting in the car slamming into the wall.
He suffered fractures to his right scapula (shoulder blade), ribs and elbow. The injuries forced him to miss five Cup races.
Nemechek took another hard blow on the Dover track during last year's fall race when he crashed into the outside wall in Turn 1 while driving the No. 25 car.
The fiery accident, caused by a tire going down, damaged a portion of the wall. The incident put the race under caution for 27 laps while track workers repaired the crack in the wall.
"No question, I've had my share of problems in Dover," said Nemechek. "But for all that has happened to me there, I still really like the track and facility. It's a challenging oval and I have an enormous amount of respect for it. What happened in the past has no bearing whatsoever on my approach to this race."
When Nemechek says that past happenings of a negative nature don't affect his preparations, he not only means it, he has proved it. After the testing crash in the spring of 2001, Nemechek's next visit to Dover (September 2001) resulted in a seventh-place finish in the Cup race.
"Once you start letting the past play with your psyche, you're asking for trouble," explained Nemechek. "We have a lot of talent on this Army team and know what it's going to take to be successful in Dover."
And one of the key issues for Nemechek and crew chief Ryan Pemberton in this weekend's MBNA 400 "A Salute to Heroes" will be tire management with the 01 U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet.
"The all-concrete surface and high banking at Dover produce plenty of grip and that puts a heavy load on the tires," said Pemberton. "In a long green-flag run, you have to be extra careful and aware of what the right-front tire is doing. Managing the tires at this race is critical."
Nemechek, who finished 14th in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, is 23rd in the Nextel Cup driver point standings.
"We know we're better than 23rd," said Nemechek. "It's time we start getting the finishes that this team is capable of producing."