It didn't take long for Carter-Haas Motorsports to line up a replacement for Ganassi-bound Jimmy Spencer, as Joe Nemechek was announced as the new man behind the wheel of the K-Mart Ford for 2002.

A long-time Chevrolet man, Nemechek leaves the Andy Petree team to link up with Carl Haas, Travis Carter and new team-mate Todd Bodine, and is already looking to add to his sporadic victories in the Winston Cup. His last success came at Rockingham just two weeks ago, but Nemechek is confident that more trips to the winners' circle will come with a team already making its mark as one of the fastest in the field.

"I'm looking forward to working with Carl Haas, Travis Carter and the whole bunch at the race shop," Nemechek told American sports channel ESPN, "I've also got a great team-mate to work with in Todd Bodine - he's a great friend of mine and we've been talking quite a bit this year. We're already looking forward to working together, and I think we're going to get in Victory Lane in 2002."

With Bodine moving into his second year with the team, following Darrell Waltrip's retirement last year, Nemechek brings more fresh impetus to the young team.

"I felt like we needed an experienced guy who had all the experience he could bring," team owner Carter admitted, "At the time that Jimmy notified us, Joe seemed to be available. He came and sought the job and, to me, that's a big, positive step. He sought the job with us.

"We discussed it and said, 'We need a guy that's got some experience and won a race and seems to be a pretty good qualifier.' It was just the normal things. The guy is intelligent. He studies this business a lot. He works with his people on cars. That Busch team enables him to learn a lot of things and brings some things that I think we can take advantage of."

Nemechek will run the #26 car next year.