Pocono: Joe Nemechek preview

Nemechek has the right gift in mind for sponsor's 229th birthday LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2004) Picking out a present for a 229th birthday is never easy -- unless you're Joe Nemechek. The driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet knows exactly the gift...

Nemechek has the right gift in mind for sponsor's 229th birthday

LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2004) Picking out a present for a 229th birthday is never easy -- unless you're Joe Nemechek.

The driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet knows exactly the gift he would like to give his sponsor -- the U.S. Army, which will turn 229-years-old June 14.

As part of the Army's birthday celebrations this weekend, Nemechek would like nothing better than to deliver his black and gold car to winner's circle following Sunday's Pocono 500 here at Pocono Raceway.

"That would be so cool," said Nemechek. "And we're capable of winning this race. You know, my mother (Martha) and I get so many e-mails from soldiers around the world telling us how they look forward to watching our car during the telecasts of the NASCAR races. And in many locations, the races don't come on until the middle of the night.

"When I hear these stories it just makes me even more proud to represent the Army. I just want to give our soldiers a victory so bad. I do have the 229th birthday present in mind -- we just have to go out and get it done."

Getting it done is always a challenge for any team during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, especially at Pocono Raceway, a unique track with three totally different corners.

"No question, this is a different type of track," said Nemechek, who grabbed his second career pole at Pocono -- July 20, 1997. "You have to have a strong motor and I feel good knowing that a Hendrick powerplant will be under our hood.

"Shifting is also important in Pocono because of the length of both the frontstretch and backstretch. You have to be careful and take care of the motor -- Pocono is a place where you usually see a number of engine failures. But we don't focus on negatives. Our main focus is to make sure we see a gift-wrapped car in Victory Lane with the number 01 on it."

PRE-RACE U.S. ARMY BIRTHDAY & FLAG DAY CEREMONIES

In honor of the U.S. Army's 229th birthday and Flag Day -- both on June 14 -- the following pre-race ceremonies will take place Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

10:15 a.m.

A cake-cutting ceremony at the U.S. Army team transporter.

11:15-11:55:

Military District of Washington's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard" from Fort Myer, Va., presents the "Flag Story" Ceremony. Also included in this production are the Army's Fife & Drum Corps and the U.S. Army Drill Team.

12:00-12:04:

Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones will speak from the stage to the Pocono crowd and then conduct a swearing in ceremony for new recruits.

12:04-12:12:

Navy and Air Force generals each speak and conduct similar ceremonies.

12:30-12:45:

During driver introductions, Military District of Washington's 56 State & Territorial Flags will form a cordon through which the drivers will walk from the stage to the vehicles.

12:55-1:03:

U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute demonstration.

1:13:

During National Anthem, MDW's 56 State & Territorial Flags will form a flag backdrop in front of the stage and Drill Team members will be positioned behind the national anthem singer.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek