Joe Nemechek

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Joe Nemechek
Joe Nemechek 2011.jpg
Nemechek in 2011
Born Joseph Frank Nemechek III
(1963-09-26) September 26, 1963 (age 52)
Lakeland, Florida, U.S.
Achievements 1989 All PRO Super Series Champion
1992 NASCAR Busch Series Champion
Awards 1988 USAR Rookie of the Year
1990 Busch Series Rookie of the Year
1992, 1993 Busch Series Most Popular Driver
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
667 races run over 23 years
2015 position 68th
Best finish 15th (2000)
First race 1993 Slick 50 300 (New Hampshire)
Last race 2015 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (Atlanta)
First win 1999 Dura Lube/Kmart 300 (New Hampshire)
Last win 2004 Banquet 400 (Kansas)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 62 10
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
427 races run over 26 years
Car no., team No. 87 (NEMCO Motorsports)
2015 position 118th
Best finish 1st (1992)
First race 1989 AC-Delco 500 (Rockingham)
Last race 2016 Subway Firecracker 250 (Daytona)
First win 1992 Kroger 200 (IRP)
Last win 2004 Mr. Goodcents 300 (Kansas)
Wins Top tens Poles
16 126 18
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
23 races run over 6 years
2015 position 33rd
Best finish 19th (2014)
First race 1996 Parts America 150 (Watkins Glen)
Last race 2015 WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 (Texas)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 15 0
Statistics current as of July 1, 2016.

Joseph Frank "Joe" Nemechek III (born September 26, 1963) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes part-time in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 87 Toyota Camry for NEMCO Motorsports. He won the 1992 NASCAR Busch Series championship. He was born in Lakeland, Florida, the older brother of John Nemechek, and is nicknamed "Front Row Joe", a nickname given him by former teammate Wally Dallenbach for his tendency in the late 1990s to be a regular contender for a front row starting position. He is the father of John Hunter Nemechek.

Racing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Nemechek began racing at the age of thirteen in motocross, and won three hundred career races over the next six years. After winning various awards in different short track series around the country, Nemechek made his Busch Series debut at North Carolina Speedway in 1989, where he started 40th and finishing 33rd after suffering engine failure in his #88 Buick.

Busch Series[edit]

Nemechek moved up to the Busch Series in 1990, running the #87 with sponsorship from Master Machine & Tool, posting two top-fives and finishing seventeenth in points, winning Rookie of the Year honors. He had sixteen top-ten finishes and finished sixth in points the following year. In 1992, Nemechek got full-time sponsorship from Texas Pete sauce, and got his first two career wins and defeated Bobby Labonte for the championship by three points. He did not win again in 1993, but he won three poles and finished fifth in points. That season, he made his Cup debut at New Hampshire International Speedway for his NEMCO team, starting 15th before finishing 36th after suffering rocker arm failure. After running two more races in the 87, he ran a pair of races for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, his best finish 23rd at Rockingham.

Cup Series[edit]


Nemechek's 1996 car

In 1994, Nemechek joined Larry Hedrick Motorsports to drive the #41 Meineke Discount Mufflers Chevy. Despite missing two races, he had three top-tens and finished 27th. He also started one Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway. The next season, he moved his 87 team up to the Cup series with sponsorship from Burger King, and posted a fourth-place finish at the MBNA 500 and finished 28th in points. After he dropped to 34th in points, he abandoned his Cup team and signed to drive the #42 Bellsouth car for SABCO Racing. After losing his brother John in an accident at Homestead-Miami Speedway early in the year, Nemechek won the first two pole positions of his career, at California Speedway[1] and Pocono Raceway, respectively. He posted four top-tens and finished a career-best 26th the following year. Midway through 1999, he announced he would not return to the 42 team the following season when he picked up his first career victory at Loudon. He won two more poles at Martinsville and Talladega Superspeedway and finished 30th in points that year.


Nemechek (#01) racing against Kurt Busch at Talladega Superspeedway in 2005

For 2000, Nemechek signed to drive the #33 Oakwood Homes-sponsored Chevrolet for Andy Petree Racing, winning the pole at Talladega and finishing a career-best 15th in points. He missed five races the following year after suffering an elbow injury at a test at Dover in 2001, then went on to win the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway that November.

After Petree's team began to run into financial problems, Nemechek's team was left without a sponsor and he left for Haas-Carter Motorsports to take over the #26 Kmart-sponsored Ford Taurus that Jimmy Spencer had left to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing. However, Nemechek went from one financial problem to another as Kmart filed for bankruptcy early in the 2002 season and stopped sponsoring the Haas-Carter team. This forced Haas-Carter to scale back its operations to one team and Nemechek was released in favor of keeping Todd Bodine, who was driving the team's other car, in the fold. Nemechek found an opportunity almost immediately as Johnny Benson, who was the driver of the #10 Valvoline Pontiac for MBV Motorsports, was injured in a crash and required a substitute. After driving several races in the #10 Nemechek was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to replace Jerry Nadeau in the #25 UAW/Delphi-sponsored Chevrolet. Nemechek drove the remainder of the season for Hendrick and performed well enough to earn a full-time ride the next season.

In 2003, Nemechek started in second spot, led the most laps and won the Pontiac Excitement 400. The race was rain-shortened with seven laps left, and just three minutes under a red flag, NASCAR called the race official. Nemechek in an indoor victory lane, dedicated his win to fellow driver Jerry Nadeau who previously suffered a massive crash during a practice run; an accident that ended Nadeau's career in all motorsports.

After the big win, Nemechek posted five other Top 10 finishes, but finished 25th in points. It wasn't enough for Nemechek to keep his job at Hendrick, and at the end of the season was released from his contract.

For the 2004, season, Nemechek returned to MB2/MBV Motorsports, taking over the #01 U.S. Army car. He was again replacing Jerry Nadeau as the driver although this time it was due to Nadeau suffering a severe injury that would eventually end his racing career. He won two poles late in the season. In October, Nemechek won at Kansas Speedway, beating out Ricky Rudd at the finish line. Nemechek also won the Busch Series race at Kansas the day before, making him the first driver to pull the Busch-Cup double win at the track.

In 2005, Nemechek won a pole at Michigan. The season was highlighted by a feud with Kevin Harvick. After Harvick caused a multi car crash involving Nemechek during practice for the 2005 Daytona 500, Nemechek and Jimmie Johnson were outspoken about their displeasure with Harvick. Later, Nemechek got into a tussle with Harvick during The Nextel Challenge. Nemechek and Harvick had an interaction post-race that nearly came to blows, Nemechek saying "Kevin thinks he owns this world and he ain't squat."

At the end of the season, Nemechek fell seven points short of matching his career-best points finish.


Nemechek's No. 42 BellSouth-sponsored race car in 1997
The No. 78 in 2008
The No. 87 in 2011

The MB2 was rebranded as Ginn Racing following Bobby Ginn's purchase of the team in 2006. He moved to Ginn's #13 with a CertainTeed sponsorship after veteran Mark Martin and rookie Regan Smith were tapped to share the #01 car. In July 2007, Nemechek was released due to a lack of sponsorship for the #13, which was subsequently shut down.[2] He signed with E&M Motorsports and although he failed his first attempt to qualify at Indy, he made his way into the field for the Michigan race weekend driving the #08 Fans On Board-sponsored Dodge. He spent the rest of the season driving for Furniture Row Racing, and signed a three-year contract with FRR to continue to drive in the #78 and help expand the team. In April 2008, at Talladega, Joe Nemechek grabbed his 10th career pole driving the #78 National Day of Prayer/ Furniture Row-sponsored car. It marked Furniture Row Racing's first ever pole. In October 2008, Nemechek finished 11th at the Talladega race. In November 2008, Furniture Row Racing announced that they were planning on running a limited schedule in 2009 or perhaps not at all in light of the economic situation. The day after this announcement Nemechek was released from his contract and as a result making him free to pursue other opportunities for 2009 and beyond. Shortly thereafter, Joe announced that he would be bringing his NEMCO Motorsports team back to full competition in both of NASCAR's top series, Sprint Cup and Nationwide. He would race the #87 Chevy in Nationwide and the #87 Camry in Cup. Nemechek ran most of the races for both series that season, but occasionally had a younger fill in. In the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway, Nemechek flipped after contact with several other cars. His car had minor damage, and he was able to drive it back to pit road.

Nemechek raced in 30 Cup races during the 2009 season despite very little funding. He finished just three events and did multiple "start and parks" where a driver starts the race, then parks to conserve parts, tires, etc. and to collect the prize money. On two occasions, he gave up his ride to Scott Speed after his fully funded ride failed to qualify for Darlington and Sonoma. He qualified for the 2010 Daytona 500 after missing the race the year before. Nemechek picked up sponsorship from England Stove Works, but was involved in an accident on lap 64. Nemechek would go on to compete in 30 more Cup races with most being "start and parks." That season was highlighted by the 2010 AMP Energy Juice 500, Nemechek led the first lap after starting fourth. He would run the full distance, finishing 27th after suffering a blown tire.


Nemechek brought his #87 cars back for 2011 to once again run both major NASCAR series. Nemechek successfully qualified for the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row, but was once again involved in an early incident, thus failing to finish again. On June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, along with Jeff Burton he made his 900th NASCAR start in all top three series. In the Nationwide Series, Nemechek scored his first top five since 2005 with a 3rd-place finish at the Aaron's 312 after being in position to win with 2 laps to go. In July, Nemechek picked up sponsorship from Extenze and AM FM Energy to run the full race in both series at Daytona International Speedway. He led laps in both races but was taken out in late accidents. Nemechek collected Nationwide Series points for 2011 under NASCAR's policy that a driver may accumulate points for only one series, and finished 14th in the final standings. He ran the No. 87 in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2012, with the Cup ride as a start-and-park to fund the Nationwide team. Nemechek made his 600th career start at Michigan and finished 40th after starting 37th.[3] Nemechek finished 11th in the 2012 Nationwide Series points.

Nemechek will drive the #66 car for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2014 in a partnership called Identity Ventures Racing.[4]

During his 2014 season, Nemechek managed to break the all-time Sprint Cup Series record for the most last-place finishes; breaking a record set by J.D. McDuffie during his tragic death at the 1991 Budweiser at The Glen racing event. A single-car crash with rookie Parker Kligerman caused Nemechek's car to struggle until it was driven to the garage on lap 310 of 500. Nemechek's constant start and park performances has caused him to beat McDuffie's old record in 655 races.[5] In April 2014, Nemechek announced that he would be driving the #86 Deware Racing Group Chevrolet Camaro with sponsorship from Bubba Burger. In the 2014 Aarons 312, Nemechek was running towards the front during the entire race. With 3 laps remaining, Nemechek was running in the top 10 and finished 6th, his 126th top ten in the Nationwide Series. For the Coke Zero 400, Nemechek entered with the No. 29 RAB Racing Toyota with sponsorship from Toyota Care, but failed to qualify. Nemechek joined Randy Humphrey Racing for the Oral-B USA 500, qualifying 34th and finishing 37th.[6] He returned to RAB Racing's No. 29 at the 2014 GEICO 500, and initially qualified 24th. However, his car failed post-race inspection for an improperly sealed oil tank encasement, leaving him as one of the race's 3 DNQs. This was the first time Nemechek did not race on a superspeedway in his 22 years of Sprint Cup competition.


Nemechek's team announced that for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season that his team would be returning to Chevrolet after a three-year tenure with Toyota. Nemechek returned to his own team in the Xfinity and Cup series, running a limited schedule with Chevrolets. Nemechek began the season by failing to qualify for the Xfinity race at Daytona, and withdrawing from the Daytona 500 Cup race.

The following week at Atlanta, he was announced as the substitute for David Ragan in the #34 CSX Ford for Front Row Motorsports. At the time, Ragan was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in place of the injured Kyle Busch.[7] Nemechek drove the #34 car to a 33rd-place finish in what would be his only Cup Series start of the season.


Nemechek made two appearances in 2016, driving his own number 87 in both Xfinity races at Daytona. Nemechek finished 18th in February and 36th in July after being caught in an early crash while he was running in the top 10.

Motorsports career results[edit]


(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Daytona 500[edit]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1994 Larry Hedrick Motorsports Chevrolet DNQ
1995 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet 23 42
1996 37 39
1997 Team SABCO Chevrolet DNQ
Barkdoll Racing Chevrolet 38 27
1998 Team SABCO Chevrolet 28 26
1999 32 36
2000 Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 16 42
2001 32 11
2002 Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford 25 40
2003 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 15 22
2004 MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet 14 6
2005 34 13
2006 38 33
2007 Ginn Racing Chevrolet 18 9
2008 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 41 41
2009 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota DNQ
2010 41 43
2011 41 39
2012 34 28
2013 NEMCO-Jay Robinson Racing 27 43
2014 Identity Ventures Racing DNQ

Xfinity Series[edit]

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

* Season still in progress
1 Ineligible for series points


  1. ^ Glick, Shav (1997-06-21). "Nemechek Is California 500's First Pole Cat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  2. ^ NASCAR News, Videos, Scores, Standings, Stats, Teams | FOX Sports on MSN. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  3. ^ Adamczyk, Jay (February 16, 2012). "Nemechek gets sponsor for Daytona 500". Jayski's NASCAR Sprint Cup News Page. ESPN. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  4. ^ Eddinger, Mark (2014-01-31). "Michael Waltrip Racing and Jay Robinson Racing Partner to Run the No. 66 for Full Season". Sports Media 101. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  5. ^ Joe Nemechek Becomes All-Time Leader In NASCAR Cup Series Last-Place Finishes at Brock Beard (Blogspot)
  6. ^ "Atlanta Entry List". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Front Row Joe to drive for Front Row Motorsports". Retrieved March 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bobby Labonte
NASCAR Busch Series Champion
Succeeded by
Steve Grissom
Preceded by
Kenny Wallace
NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Jeff Gordon