NEMECHEK FEELS HE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE IN NEW U.S. ARMY CHEVY FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's eagerness to arrive in Southern California for this weekend's Nextel Cup race is not only to drive a recently-built car, but to...
NEMECHEK FEELS HE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE IN NEW U.S. ARMY CHEVY
FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2005) -- Joe Nemechek's eagerness to arrive in Southern California for this weekend's Nextel Cup race is not only to drive a recently-built car, but to also make amends to the U.S. Army team for his Daytona 500 performance.
"I was not happy with where we finished in Daytona (13th)," said Nemechek. "I made a couple of mistakes coming into the pits that cost us valuable track position. I am eager to get out there and redeem myself. I am proud of my Army guys and they deserve to have a good run. I do like our chances in California and I'm not dreamin' when I say that."
One of the reasons why Nemechek's is confident going intothe California Speedway event is that he will have a new and improved 01 Army Chevrolet from what he tested with at the two-mile oval in early February.
Although Nemechek conducted a successful test session, crew chief Ryan Pemberton felt there were still some aerodynamic issues that needed to be addressed.
After consulting with the team's engineering staff, Pemberton handed over a package of notes and data to the MB2 Motorsports fabrication department where a new car was constructed for Sunday's Auto Club 500.
"Having a new car built after a good test session really shows the commitment of this U.S. Army/MB2 team," said Nemechek, who sat on the pole at the inaugural California Cup race in 1997. "The test session went well, but we wanted it better. And this new California car should have a better aerodynamic package.
"We're dealing with some new rules this weekend -- softer tires and a rear spoiler that is one inch smaller. I'm not really sure what the effects will be, but I am confident that we're going to be good."
Recent history will concur with Nemechek's optimism for the second Nextel Cup event of 2005.
Last year, the U.S. Army driver had two top-10 qualifying efforts at the Fontana track, including the outside pole in the spring race.
In race mode, Nemechek saw an easy top-10 finish evaporate when he ran out of fuel with two laps remaining in the first race. In the second California race he came back to post a 12th-place finish.
"We have a good handle on the California track," offered Nemechek. "I don't like to ever guarantee because so many things are out your control in this business, but I am as close as you can get to guaranteeing that we're going to have a strong run this weekend."