In the Pits- MB2
Joe Nemechek’s Mom is Another Winner on the Racing Circuit
May is Mother's Day month, and there is not a more popular mom on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit than Martha Nemechek. Martha is the mother of Joe Nemechek, driver of the U.S. Army Chevrolet, and she is often seen making her way through the garage prior to Nextel Cup events.
Decked out in camouflage fatigues, a gift from a U.S. Army General, Martha is a fixture around the Cup garage. She is often seen shaking hands, hugging necks and offering homemade brownies to drivers, crew members and NASCAR officials. The most unique thing about Martha, however, is her relationship with Joe’s sponsor.
It is not uncommon for the U.S. Army to bring new recruits to Nextel Cup Series races. They have the chance to talk with “Front Row Joe,” obtain his autograph, and ask questions. But, more importantly, they get to meet Martha.
Often these young soldiers are close to being shipped off to war, and no one is more aware of the sacrifices these young recruits make than the Nemecheks.
“The Army is not an ordinary sponsor,” Joe Nemechek says. “It’s the backbone of our nation’s freedom. I’m proud to be driving the car that represents the Army. So many soldiers look at NASCAR drivers as icons, but they are the ones who are the heroes.
“And my mom has formed a relationship with a lot of the troops,” he continues. It’s pretty neat.”
Martha passes out her own personal business cards to members of the Army who are attending events, offering them anything they want while they’re away.
“The card has my e-mail address on it,” Martha says. “I tell them if they want someone to stay in touch with, I'll be there.”
Martha has had requests for cookies, which she bakes and sends, usually with some extra brownies. She’s had requests for racing souvenirs, which she buys, gets signed by Joe and sends out. She’s also had requests just for someone to listen, and she listens.
“I love people,” she explains. “I love to talk to people. That’s me. I’m just a plain, simple, down-to-earth person, and I like people to treat me that way.”
And on this Mother’s Day, she will probably receive messages from her many friends from abroad. Often, she finds 35 to 85 messages a night in her inbox when she sits down at her computer to respond.
“One or two or three in the morning,” she says, “if they tell me they’ll be e-mail-ing me, I’ll be on.”