Nemechek to Celebrate Anniversary; Poised to Set Team Record
August 27, 2008
DENVER (Aug. 27, 2008) -- It will be one year this weekend when Joe Nemechek took on a new moniker.
Known for many years as Front Row Joe for his qualifying prowess, the veteran driver also became known as Furniture Row Joe when he assumed the full-time ride for Furniture Row Racing at last year's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
"It's been a fast and furious year with the Furniture Row team and the good news is that we've come a long way," said Nemechek. "We still have a ways to go, but for a single-car team competing with the mulitcar big dogs, we're holding our own and showing improvement."
This weekend's event at Auto Club Speedway could set a Furniture Row record for most Cup races the 3-year-old Denver, Colo.-based team has qualified in a single season. The record of 21 season starts was equaled last week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
"The record is important to everyone on this team because it shows improvement and that's what you're always looking for in this business," offered Nemechek, who has qualified in 12 straight races in his No. 78 Chevy Impala SS.
An anniversary and potential record are not the only noteworthy accomplishments for Nemechek at Auto Club Speedway. One of his most memorable moments at the Southern California track was when he captured the pole at the inaugural Cup event in May 1997.
"Winning the pole at the very first race was pretty special," said Nemechek. "I've had a number of good qualifying efforts there, including an outside pole a few years ago."
Nemechek's fondness for Auto Club Speedway also includes a bittersweet performance at the February 2005 race. He had a dominant car that day and was cruising with a commanding lead on the 2-mile oval. But on Lap 178 of 250 his engine broke. Though he exited the race early, he still led a race high 63 laps.
"That was a tough one to swallow," recalled Nemechek. "I have a mixed bag of results at California, I'm just hoping that Sunday's race will be in the good column."