In the pits- MB2
Young "Joey" Nemechek lives out his dream
For Martha Nemechek, the memories are still vivid. It started in the mid 1970s with six members of the Nemechek family crammed in a station wagon and heading to Daytona Beach to attend NASCAR’s biggest race—the Daytona 500.
The trek from Lakeland, FL would eventually become an annual Nemechek family trip, and what began as a dream for a young boy eventually be-came a reality.
“We would arrive on Saturday, park near the track and sleep in the car—all six of us,” recalled Martha, matriarch of the Nemechek clan. “My husband (Big Joe) and I took the front seat, while the four kids (Marti, Joe, Mark and John) were in the back. It was always a memorable trip. And after every Daytona 500, Joey, who always had an imagination, would tell us that someday he was going to drive one of those cars.”
As it turned out it wasn't a figment of his imagination at all—Joey kept his promise. That same young Joey is now known to a legion of fans as Joe Nemechek, driver of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.
“Those trips to Daytona meant the world to me,” said Nemechek, who is approaching his 400th NASCAR Cup career start. “Not only did I get to see the race and fuel my dreams, but it was good, quality, family time. Some of my best childhood memories took place during those trips.”
Nemechek began his NASCAR dream in 1989 when he entered his first Busch series race. He moved to the Cup series full time in 1994 and began his third full season with MB2 Motorsports and the U.S. Army team this year. Nemechek says that driving for the Army is one of the most rewarding parts of his racing career.
“The pride of driving the Army car is immense,” said Nemechek. “I have so much passion for our soldiers. They’re my heroes, and I want to give them something back. Knowing that they are all over the world fighting for our freedom makes me honored to represent them. A victory would be a small start toward thanking the soldiers, but I’d love for it to be a start.”
Nemechek acknowledges that driving a racecar in the NEXTEL Cup series was always his goal, but admits he never thought it would be this good.
“I’m living a dream right now,” continued Nemechek. “Ever since I was a little kid this is all I wanted to do. And now I get to do it representing one of the greatest organizations in the world. I’m a lucky person.”
Driver Joe Nemecheck (r) with his mother, Martha and son, John Hunter