NEMECHEK LOOKING FOR A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT AT POCONO LONG POND, Pa. (July 19, 2005) -- Based on his history at Pocono Raceway, Joe Nemechek feels good about his chances in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. But based on his U.S. Army Chevrolet's ...
NEMECHEK LOOKING FOR A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT AT POCONO
LONG POND, Pa. (July 19, 2005) -- Based on his history at Pocono Raceway, Joe Nemechek feels good about his chances in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. But based on his U.S. Army Chevrolet's recent history of being a magnet for spinning cars and flying debris, Nemechek is keeping his enthusiasm in check.
The ultimate goal for Nemechek in Sunday's Nextel Cup race isto better his finish by two positions from the last time he competed at Pocono.
"It's not unrealistic to feel the 01 Army team has a good shot at winning this weekend," said Nemechek, who finished third in last month's Pocono 500."
But for Nemechek to be among the leaders at the end of the race, he needs to stay away from trouble -- something that he unfortunately hasn't been able to do in recent events.
At the last three Nextel Cup races -- Daytona, Chicago and New Hampshire -- the Army Chevy had a strong setup, but in each race, Nemechek saw a top-10 or a top-five finish fade when his car suffered body damage as a result of being hit by another car or moving debris.
"We had wounded cars the last three races but still came away with finishes of 15th in Daytona and Chicago and 18th in New Hampshire," explained Nemechek. "Our car was a lot better than those finishes, but for some reason those demons are finding the Army Chevy again."
Though he has had his share of misfortunes, Nemechek is more concerned about having a mistake-free weekend than if bad luck will strike again.
"Demons and bad luck have always been and always will be a big part of racing," said Nemechek. "But the fewer mistakes you make during the weekend, your chances on the luck meter will increase. If we can stay clean in Pocono, we should be right up there with the leaders."
Pocono's 5-mile aberration oval of three turns has been a track that Nemechek's car has found success at.
Along with the podium finish in the June race, the Army car also had strong performances in last year's events.
Nemechek posted qualifying efforts of third and second respectively in 2004and ran up front on the Pocono track until a transmission failure halted his run in both events.
In last month's Pocono race, Nemechek started 18th andpicked up steam in the second half of the event to claim the third-place result.
"Any time you have a history of qualifying and running well at a track, your confidence level goes up a notch or two," offered Nemechek, who grabbed the Pocono pole at the 1997 July race. "We have a good baseline for the track, butyou can't get overly confident because what made the car run strong in June might not be applicable in July."
"Since we last raced in Pocono the track condition is probably different and the weather will most likely be hotter. Those two factors have a major effect with the car's setup."