In the Pits - MB2
Nemechek, U.S. Army Team Looking to Build on Success
When the grueling 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season came to an end Nov. 16 at
Homestead-Miami Speed-way, United States Army driver Joe Nemechek felt an emptiness.
He was not looking forward to the off-season and taking some well-deserved time
“When you have a good team backing you, along with a great team chemistry,
it makes for fun,” said Nemechek. “You don’t want to take
a break—you want to continue on.”
Nemechek, who joined the U.S. Army/MB2 team for the final four races of the
season, feels there’s plenty of potential to be successful in 2004.
“The final four races were a great test and tune,” commented Nemechek.
“In a short time of getting to know each other, I really feel we have
clicked as a unit and have done some good things. I keep saying this Army team
has a bright future, and I am happy I will be part of it.
“Having the opportunity to be with the 01 team for the final four races
was a huge bonus in getting us ready for 2004. When we get to Daytona for testing
in January, we won’t be a new team. We’re going to have a good book
of data instead of playing catch up.”
In his four races with the Army team, Nemechek was awfully impressive in qualifying—securing
a top-10 starting position in each of the races. He qualified eighth in Atlanta,
tenth in Phoenix, sixth in Rockingham and eighth in Homestead.
“We definitely figured out how to qualify,” explained Nemechek.
“That was a lot of fun to get those top-10 starting positions with a new
team. But we need to do a better job in translating our qualifying success to
Nemechek’s finishes in the Army Pontiac were 10th (Atlanta), 31st (Phoenix),
25th (Rockingham) and 17th (Homestead).
“Joe’s performance was much better than the results,” said
Ryan Pem-berton, crew chief for the 01 Army car. “We had some things go
wrong with the car in those races, but Joe hung in there and gave us a solid
effort at each race. I felt we did some neat things at the final four races
and I am confident that it’s going to pay some good dividends for us in
Nemechek is equally as confident as he eagerly awaits Feb. 15 when the 2004
NASCAR Nextel Cup season officially begins with the historic Daytona 500.