ATLANTA, November 17, 2001 - Kmart Racing and Haas Carter Motorsports announced that Joe Nemechek will take over as driver of the No. 26 Kmart Ford for 2002. Nemechek, 38, replaces Jimmy Spencer at the end of the 2001 season. Rumors have...
ATLANTA, November 17, 2001 - Kmart Racing and Haas Carter Motorsports announced that Joe Nemechek will take over as driver of the No. 26 Kmart Ford for 2002. Nemechek, 38, replaces Jimmy Spencer at the end of the 2001 season.
Rumors have floated around for months about Nemechek taking the wheel of the No. 26 Kmart car. Earlier this week, sources revealed that Nemechek might have stolen the car to get some practice in his new ride. Someone dressed as "THE GRINCH(tm)" drove off with Spencer's back up car last Tuesday in Statesville, just as team owner Travis Carter was giving local media a sneak peak of the holiday paint scheme. The car features images from Universal Studio's new home release, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas(tm)," available at Kmart and BlueLight.com on November 20.
Today, the plot unfolded, as "THE GRINCH (tm)" returned the car to Haas Carter Motorsports during a press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The car came speeding in, during a speech by Travis Carter. The perpetrator leapt from the vehicle, pulled his helmet off and revealed he wasn't "THE GRINCH (tm)" at all, but Nemechek.
"I just wanted to take my new car for a spin around the block," joked Nemechek. "With a little help from "THE GRINCH(tm)," I was able to make a big splash with my announcement to join the Kmart Racing and Haas Carter team. The opportunities to achieve racing excellence with this crew for the 2002 Winston Cup season are tremendous."
"I am looking forward to driving the No. 26 Kmart car," continued Nemechek. "The team is showing great potential and they have strong cars. They have a lot of experienced people, and that's the name of the game in racing."
"Kmart's dedication to racing means a lot to me as a driver and a NASCAR fan," he added. "As a Kmart shopper, I am proud to support the only major retailer with such a commitment to my sport."
Nemechek is currently ranked 29th in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup standings driving for Andy Petree of Andy Petree Racing. During his nine-year career in Winston Cup, he has captured two wins, six poles, seven top fives and 31 top 10 finishes.
"Joe is an intelligent guy and he has proven himself over the years in NASCAR," said Travis Carter. "He's competitive and he's 'car-smart' - which is a great asset. I honestly believe that his experience in both the Busch and Winston Cup Series will help us. He has ideas on car construction that will aid our team. Joe has been to victory lane, he's had numerous poles, and he's very enthusiastic. He will make a fine addition to the team and serve as a wonderful spokesperson for Kmart and the rest of our sponsors."
Nemechek will join teammate Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 66 Kmart BlueLight Special Ford for Haas Carter Motorsports.
"Todd and I are just as good a friends as we are competitors," said Nemechek. "In fact, every time I talk to him, he ends up sitting on the front row."
'Front Row Joe' Nemechek will make his debut in the No. 26 Kmart Ford at the 2002 Daytona 500.
Kmart Racing will kick off its third year of NASCAR Winston Cup sponsorship with Haas Carter Motorsports for the 2002. Nemechek will race the No. 26 Kmart Ford and Todd Bodine will continue to compete in the No. 66 Kmart BlueLight Special Ford.
"We are very proud to have Joe Nemechek and Todd Bodine carrying the Kmart banner in 2002," said Tom Lemke, Vice-President Marketing and Sales for Kmart. "We would also like to thank Universal for their support of "THE GRINCH(tm)" promotion. Hopefully we can take "THE GRINCH(tm)" on his first visit to Victory Lane tomorrow."