Loudon: Joe Nemechek preview

Nemechek Looking for More Magic at Adopted Home Track LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2006) --- Considering his recent woes, Joe Nemechek is happy about being at New Hampshire International Speedway for this weekend's Nextel Cup race, which begins the ...

Nemechek Looking for More Magic at Adopted Home Track

LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2006) --- Considering his recent woes, Joe Nemechek is happy about being at New Hampshire International Speedway for this weekend's Nextel Cup race, which begins the second half of the 36-race schedule.

"I guess it's only natural to want to be in a friendly confine when you're looking to turn things around," said Nemechek, who calls the "Magic Mile" at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS)his adopted home track.

Though he is a native of Lakeland, Fla, a short jaunt to Daytona International Speedway, it's the New England facility that has brought more smiles to Nemechek than any other track.

Nemechek's first Cup start (July 11, 1992) and first Cup win (Sept. 19, 1999) both came at New Hampshire, as did one of his most memorable Busch wins -- against Dale Earnhardt Sr. -- in 1992.

"So many great memories about New Hampshire," said Nemechek, driver of the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. "While it's known as the Magic Mile, it's been the magic track for me.I go there and feel so right about everything. It's a very comfortable setting for me." There is no question that Nemechek's confidence level -- leading up to Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 300 - is magnified because of being in New Hampshire.

"I really feel that we can start to turn around our season this weekend," said Nemechek. "We didn't have a great finish in Chicago last week, but we did learn a lot. I feel we are gradually slipping out of this slump."

Nemechek is quick to admit the first half of the Nextel Cup season was far below his and the U.S. Army team's expectations.

"We've been a tick off and that's all it takes to severely hinder your performance," said Nemechek. "However, we aren't any different from our soldiers -- you don't put your head down during a struggling time -- you just dig in and work harder. You never accept defeat."

While his first Cup start and first Cup win came at New Hampshire,it was the Busch win over Earnhardt that gets Nemechek juiced up when recalling the closing laps of his duel with the "Intimidator."

"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 Cup series. When you ran that close with the master, people took notice."

Nemechek will be looking to once again run up front and add to his New Hampshire magic when the green flag drops for Sunday's 300-lap race.

-mb2m

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Joe Nemechek