John Hunter Nemecheck Scores NCWTS Top-10 in Iowa
17-Year-Old North Carolina Driver Gears Up
for Debut on Dirt at Eldora
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver,John Hunter Nemechek, continued to show a steady progression in his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of the season with a tenth-place run at Iowa Speedway on Friday night. In his three previous starts this season, he’s fared best at tracks where he has raced for the first time. His career-high sixth-place finish at Dover and 53 laps led en route to a top-15 at Gateway are among the highlights of the season for the former Allison Legacy Series standout.
At just 17 years old, Nemechek is restricted to running the 10 Truck Series races at tracks 1.25-miles in length and under, complying with the guidelines of NASCAR’s age policy. This fits within the youngster’s wheelhouse, however, as he’s cut his racing teeth on Allison Legacy Series and CRA Late Model short tracks across the south east.
Friday night’s American Ethanol 200 got underway under threatening skies following several hours of rain which canceled one of two practice sessions earlier in the day.
Starting from the 14th position, Nemechek quickly gained several positions making his way into the top 10 before the 25-lap mark. In a race with few cautions, however, the opportunities to pass were few and far between and as the night wore on, it would clearly become a race for track position and those who had it kept it.
“We had a good truck, we just didn’t have a great truck tonight and I think we really missed having that second practice session,” Nemechek said. “We just chased the set up from the start but I think by the end of the night we got some things figured out that will help going forward.”
The lessons learned in Iowa may have to wait for two races from now for the 17-year old Nemechek as his next race will be on the dirt track at Eldora Speedway for the “Mudsummer Classic” on Wednesday, July 23. Having only raced a moto cross bike on dirt previously, Nemechek is gearing up for an “anything goes” type of night.
“We took a truck to a local dirt track just so I could get a feel for it and I really had fun with it,” Nemechek said. “I could have stayed out there all day to be honest. I just know from watching last year’s race, it’s going to be tough to pass and everyone wants the same piece of real estate so it’s going to be a fun track to race. Hopefully we’ll put on a good show and come out with a good finish.”
The Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway gets underway Wednesday, July 23 at 9:00pm EDT and will be televised live on Fox Sports 1. MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90 will carry the live radio broadcast.
John Hunter Nemecheck Logs First Laps Led in Pivotal NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Run
Top-15 Finish Not Indicative of 17-Year Old’s Strong Performance-
John Hunter Nemechek came into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park still on a high from his CRA Pro Late Model Series win in Milwaukee and carrying the momentum of his SWM-NEMCO team who, with his father Joe Nemechek, captured a third-place result in the Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway the same weekend.
Having never set foot on the grounds of Gateway Motorsports Park, thecentral focusof the young Nemechek, who turned 17 on Wednesday, was getting seat time and learning the track.
With the first practice session underway, Nemechek rolled his MD Anderson Cancer Center Toyota onto the track and as he sailed it into turn one for the first lap, the truck broke loose and spun into the outside wall.
“Well, I guess I should have lifted a little sooner,” Nemechek quipped while surveying the damage on his Tundra. “It’s not too bad – we’ll get back out there and just make laps and learn from it.”
Learn from it he did. Nemechek posted the ninth-fastest time overall in practice, and the next day, made it through to the final round of qualifying.
Nemechek rolled off the grid in the 12th position for the start of the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 and was quickly on the move. The first caution flew at lap three and Nemechek had already made his way into the eighth position and radioed that the truck was “coming to him.”
Back under green, Nemechek continued to impress as he raced into the top five by lap 10 of the 160-lap event. With green flag pit stops commencing at lap 58, Nemechek had been jockeying positions among the top seven and inherited the lead on lap 64. A fortunate caution flew amid green flag pit stops allowing Nemechek the benefit of pitting under caution. Reporting a combination condition of loose and tight, Nemechek pitted for tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments and would restart in the second position.
Back underway, Nemechek was looking sporty as he raced among the veterans of the series. At lap 78, he raced his way back into the lead and fought off the likes of Matt Crafton and Erik Jones to lead 44 laps in that segment. He returned to the lead briefly from lap 129-133 as well.
As the laps wore on, Nemechek remained a strong presence and it appeared as though he would come home with at least a top three – but in the closing laps, those hopes were dashed. A lap after the 77 truck of German Quiroga made contact with the No. 8 truck; Nemechek's left rear went flat and sent him spinning into the wall.
Suffering significant damage but able to return to the track, he finished the race in the 15th position leading a total of 53 laps and impressing many in the sport.
"I can't say enough about everyone who supports this program,” Nemechek said. “I have to thank Sid and Dawna Mauldin for their support and I just take my hat off to everyone for all their hard work. The pit crew did an awesome job tonight and from the feedback side to the adjustments that were made - all of our communication got better tonight. We took a 10th place truck and turned it into a top-three truck and led forever there. It was a learning night for sure. It didn't work out for us, but it was still a good night overall.
“It was definitely a disappointment but you have to look at it from the positive side and know that - I think everybody knew we here and I think we turned a lot of heads tonight,” Nemechek continued. “We gained a lot of positive experience so I guess we go to the next one and for me that's Iowa. This actually gives me more drive to go kick butt and lead laps and finish top three and win. Our goal coming into tonight was to finish top five. We didn't do that but I wasn't expecting to lead any laps either. We led a lot of laps there and it's just awesome to have that feeling and get this under our belts. The next time it won't be something so new and we can just keep moving forward.”
Before John Hunter Nemechek climbs behind the wheel of the No. 8 Tundra in Iowa on July 11, Joe Nemechek will suit up for the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on June, 26. Live television coverage begins at 8:00pm ET on Fox Sports 1 while PRN and SiriusXM Radio will carry the live radio broadcast.
Stay current with both Nemecheks by following them on Twitter: @JohnNemechek and @FrontRowJoe87. Websites: www.johnhunternemechek.com and www.joenemechek.com.
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