NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2010 NASCAR Driver Review: Joe Nemechek

Joe Nemechek

2010 Ride: No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota
2010 Primary Sponsors: Crosby’s Roofing, Hostgator.com, Chuck Levin’s Washington Music, England Stove Works, Waverly Property Groups, D.A.B. Constructors
2010 Owner: Andrea Nemechek
2010 Crew Chief: Philippe Lopez
2010 Stats: 31 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 30 DNFs, 38th in points

High Point: It’s hard to really have a high point when you don’t have the financing to finish races. So we’ll call it the AMP Energy Drink 500 at Talladega, the Fall event where Joe posted his best, and in a sense only result of the season. Nemechek had a great qualifying run, starting fourth and ran the distance despite a late tire issue to finish on the lead lap in 27th. That wasn’t just his best finish of the season; it was the lone event out of 31 starts he crossed the finish line instead of packing up early.

Low Point: Definitely the Daytona 500. When you are racing week-to-week, you need to finish well both in the highest-paying races and the ones you have the money to finish. The Great American Race fit both of those categories for Joe, who raced his way into the 500 with enough sponsorship to run the full race only to be taken out in an accident less than a third of the way into the event. So not only did Nemechek not get a nice payday for his efforts, he wound up with a wadded up racecar and a big bill to get it fixed.

Summary: Well, you can summarize Joe’s season in three words: start and park. Front Row Joe got a raw deal from Ginn Racing a few years ago and has never recovered, slipping down the ladder until he’s been forced to run with his self-owned team simply to keep surviving in the sport. With a shoestring budget, a tough economy and NASCAR’s current rules in place, it’s next to impossible for guys like Nemechek to be at all competitive without a sponsor. So they go from race to race with what’s left of last week’s winnings and run as long as they can, hoping for an early wreck to take some people out early so they can grab a few extra bucks on the way out.

Make no mistake, Joe is capable of being competitive if given an equal playing field, but that’s just not the case in NASCAR.

2011 Outlook: Honestly, the outlook for next season isn’t much better. Joe has completed about 25% of the laps in the races he’s run and without more money that’s not going to improve. At 47 years old, he’s not young, which doesn’t help in NASCAR either. Sponsors want their money being spent on the next big thing, aka a young flamboyant driver, and that’s not guys like Joe. With any luck he’ll put something together for Daytona again.

Maybe he’ll patch some sponsors together for a few other races and get a road ringer to drive his entry at the Glen and Sonoma, but the reality is he’s gonna be a start-and-park driver until NASCAR comes full circle and the drivers who earn it get the sponsorship dollars. At that’s if Joe’s still driving when it does.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: D
2007 Grade: C-
2008 Grade: D
2009 Grade: F
2010 Grade: F

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