In the pits- MB2
Visits with soldiers adds to Nemechek’s enthusiasm
Joe Nemechek says that one of the best parts of driving the U.S. Army Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports is the opportunities he has to meet brave members of the Armed Forces who defend the United States. And recently he’s had two unique opportunities to do so.
In September, Nemechek and other NASCAR drivers, including teammate Sterling Marlin, took a side trip to Washington, DC to visit wounded U.S. soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on their way to the Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
“When I meet our wounded troops I come away more proud and excited to represent the Army as its NASCAR driver,” said Nemechek. “It’s a moving experience, and once again it was great hearing all of the heroic and positive stories of our soldiers who are fighting the global war on terrorism.
It’s no secret for those who are close to Nemechek that he yearns to put his 01 Army Chevrolet in Victory Lane and make the U.S. soldiers worldwide proud of their team.
“Winning for our soldiers is always on my mind,” said Nemechek. “They know that we never give anything less than 100 percent, and they are appreciative of what we do.”
After an excellent ninth-place run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October, Nemechek caught a few hours of sleep before embarking early the following morning on a one-day, 2,100-mile round-trip journey to visit troops at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Joining Nemechek was his mother, Martha Nemechek, and Ashton Lewis Jr., driver of the Team Marines entry in the Busch series. The trip was arranged by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
“Not too many people get to land their airplane in Cuba—this is very cool,” said Nemechek as he deplaned from his private jet at the GTMO airport.
Located in the southeastern end of Cuba, Guantanamo Bay is the only U.S. base in operation in a communist-led country.
The six-hour tour included autograph and photo sessions at different points of the base, including one for non-military personnel in the downtown area.
“Every time I visit our troops it’s a special feeling,” said Nemechek. “It’s difficult not to get overwhelmed by what you see and hear. It was an honor to make the visit.”
Joe Nemechek (r) and fellow NASCAR driver
Ashton Lewis Jr. (l) visit the troops at GTMO