John Hunter Nemechek came into the Kroger 200 weekend at Martinsville finding himself in a new position as the 2014 season winds down. Having acquired a reputation for making the most in track debuts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2014, the 17-year old prodigy was practically a veteran with two previous starts at the .526-mile oval. With five top-10’s in eight starts this season, Nemechek looked to improve on his previous
Martinsville finishes of 16th (10/13) and 11th
(3/14). After racing his way into the top-five and
spending more than half the race there, a lap 137
spin would leave him fighting for his 13th-place
Lining up 14th for the start, Nemechek came off
the grid quick and had made his way into the
top-10 by lap seven.
As the race progressed, the driver’s radio was
quiet, but anything but for spotter, Jason Jarrett.
Working Nemechek through traffic, his driver was
posted in the ninth position by lap 25.
Nemechek gave a report under caution the following lap and said “the truck is rotating well and I can drive under other trucks really well.”
The next caution would fly at lap 46 as Nemechek continued his progression forward and was then posted in the seventh position. The pit strategy was to see what leaders would do – everyone stayed out and so did the No. 8. A few laps later, Nemechek had raced his way into the top five and was still reporting a well-handling race truck.
Cruising in and around the top five through the halfway point, Nemechek continued to eye the front of the pack and reported he could use more forward drive in order to take it to the next level.
After taking an opportunity to pit under caution at lap 108, many trucks chose not to and the SWM Tundra would restart in the 15th position. Nemechek again began his march back to the front and was posted in the top-10 by lap 114 and top-eight by lap 135.
Misfortune struck at lap 137, however, when the 99 truck dropped fluid on the track and Nemechek spun. While he was fortunate not to have hit anything, he would line up P22 for the restart at lap 149.
With a truck clearly capable of a top-five or better, Nemechek made the most of the laps remaining and brought his No. 8 home in the 13th position.
“We really had a good truck today and though our finish didn’t show it, we really made huge gains on where we were the last time we raced Martinsville,” Nemechek said. “We’ve grown as a team and our finishes this season show that. We have one race remaining in Phoenix in a couple of weeks and we’ll go in there shooting for the win.”
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for John Hunter Nemechek will be the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, November 7, 2014. The race will air live at 8:30pm ET on Fox Sport 1 while MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90 will carry the live radio broadcast.