Despite a Couple of Blows, Nemechek Still Friendly with the Monster
May 28, 2008
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DENVER (May 28, 2008) -- In most cases a person would not use adjectives "vicious" and "fun" to describe a certain place. That's unless you're Joe Nemechek and the place is Dover International Speedway.
The all-concrete surface known as the Monster Mile has caused plenty of grief and pain to NASCAR drivers over the years, including Nemechek, who has had a couple of violent encounters at the high-banked track.
"The Monster has beaten me up pretty good, but it's still a fun place to race at," said Nemechek, driver of the Denver-based No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.
Nemechek's most serious accident at Dover came in May 2001 when he was conducting a test session in his Busch Series car. He cut a right-front tire and slammed into the wall. The violent blow resulted in fractures to his right shoulder blade, ribs and elbows. The healing process caused Nemechek to miss five ensuing Cup races.
"When I think about the incident I can feel the pain," explained Nemechek. "Dover can be a vicious place."
While driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Nemechek took another hard hit at Dover when his car crashed into the outside wall in Turn 1 during the 2003 fall race. The hit was so hard that it put the race under caution for 27 laps while track workers repaired the damaged wall.
"That was another humdinger," noted Nemechek. "It seems like I either run well at Dover or I crash hard."
Crashing will be the furthest thing from Nemechek's mind at this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Dover. His first priority will be to qualify his Furniture Row Racing Chevy.
"We can't afford those little hiccups like we had in Charlotte last week," said Nemechek. "There is absolutely no room for error in Dover. I am confident that we have all the right stuff, but you're always concerned about that one little mistake that can send you home early."
While the Dover track has taken its toll on Nemechek, it has never intimidated him. A few months after his horrid 2001 crash, he returned to Dover and finished seventh in a Cup race.
“Dover is a challenging oval and I have an enormous amount of respect for it," added Nemechek. "What happened in the past has no bearing whatsoever on my approach to this race.”