NEMECHEK LOOKING FOR MORE NEW ENGLAND HOME COOKIN' LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2005) -- Though it's the northern-most Nextel Cup venue from his hometown of Lakeland, Fla., U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek has enjoyed a "home track" type of success at...
NEMECHEK LOOKING FOR MORE NEW ENGLAND HOME COOKIN'
LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2005) -- Though it's the northern-most Nextel Cup venue from his hometown of Lakeland, Fla., U.S. Army driver Joe Nemechek has enjoyed a "home track" type of success at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS).
For starters, the New England facility has claimed two major firsts for Nemechek - it was the site of his first Cup start (July 11, 1993) and the site of his first Cup win (Sept. 19, 1999). Healso posted a runner-up finish at NHIS in July of 2000.
"New Hampshire has always been a special place for me and I look forward to competing there," said Nemechek, who finished sixth in last year's fall race at NHIS. "It's a fun place to race and seems like we always runwell there. The track has gone through some changes recently, but we've been able to adapt to the different configurations."
Another race at New Hampshire International Speedway that Nemechek enjoys talking about is his 1992 Busch win over Dale Earnhardt Sr.
"We were beating and banging each other to the finish line," recalled Nemechek. "It was one of the most exciting races I've been in. Going into the final lap he turned me sideways, but I got back on the gas and went on to win by a fender."
"It was sure fun going toe-to-toe with Dale Sr. That win did help launch my career in the Cupseries. When you ran that closewith the master, people took notice."
Since that 1992 victory, Nemechek has enjoyed success as a NASCAR regular in both the Cup and Busch series. And while he has had some recent tough luck in his 01 Army Chevrolet, Nemechek is looking to turn the tideat his adopted home track in this weekend's New England 300.
"We're coming off two pretty good performances in Daytona and Chicago," said Nemechek. "Both races we started strong and then got caught up in somebody else's mess. We had to battle our way from the back of the field to 15th-place finishes at each race. We had a much better car than 15th the past two weeks, but the Army Chevy couldn't stay clean. It's like our car has been a magnet for other people's debris."
At Daytona, it was Michael Waltrip's spinning car that clipped the front-end of the Army car. At Chicagoland, it was a flying brake rotor off Carl Edwards' car that caved-in the nose of the 01 Chevy.
"I don't know how you do it, but we need to quit being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Nemechek. "Considering the damage we suffered the past two weeks, those 15th-place results weren't too bad. It says a lot about how this Army team never gives up."
Nemechek enters the New England 300 in 18th place in the Nextel Cup driver point standings. He is fewer than 100 points from 13th.