November 1, 2014. That was the date circled on the calendar for 17-year-old John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Late Model team. After having a Southern Super Series win taken away from the team following post-race technical inspection in April, Nemechek had redemption on his mind as he entered this past weekend’s All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).
With just one goal - winning the coveted Nashville guitar - on his mind, Nemechek turned in an impressive performance at the 6/10-mile Tennessee-oval all weekend long. The Mooresville, North Carolina driver would wind up capturing the pole award Friday night before leading 294 of 300 laps and adding an All-American 400 win to his already impressive resume.
“It was an awesome weekend,” said Nemechek after the race. “We came back here looking for redemption. After that race in April we circled this race on our calendar and said we were going to try our best to win it.
“My guys gave me an awesome car all weekend. It’s unbelievable to lead 294 laps of 300 in the All-American 400. That is a difficult task to accomplish. We definitely had a dominating car. I can’t thank my guys enough.”
On his way to victory, Nemechek held off a number of challenges from different competitors on restarts. Each time a challenge was mounted, he fought back even harder. The longest Nemechek would go without leading a lap would end up being just four laps.
“Winning the All-American 400 is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid watching Late Model racing and coming up through the ranks,” Nemechek said. “It’s definitely the biggest win of my career in a Late Model so hopefully we can keep on going and win some more.”
Nemechek’s next start will come in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday, November 7 at Phoenix International Raceway (AZ). Despite being in a different type of race car, he hopes his big win at Nashville will give him momentum heading into the race in the desert.
“Our Pro Late Model program has been amazing all year,” said Nemechek. “I think everything is helping and hopefully we can carry this momentum onto Phoenix with the Truck series and make some noise there.”
For Nemechek, making noise could consist of two things: being competitive on the track or stringing a song on his new trophy guitar. He’s never really been the musical-type, but the acquisition of his new guitar has him ready to rock.
“I played trumpet when I was in band class in fifth grade but that’s about it. I’m going to start having to take guitar lessons now.”