17-year old John Hunter Nemechek raced to a sixth-place finish in the rain-delayed UNOH 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday. The event, which was schedule to run Wednesday evening, was rescheduled for 10:00am Thursday after heavy rains blanketed the track following driver introductions.
Under clear skies Thursday morning, Nemechek rolled his
No. 8 SWM-NEMCO Tundra off the grid in the 13th position
and was on the move from the drop of the green, gaining
two spots before the first caution flew at lap 15.
Reporting that the truck was “pretty good, just a little on
the tight side,” Nemechek restarted in the 11th position
when the field went back to green at lap 23.
Continuing his progression forward, Nemechek raced his
way into the top-10 by lap 50 and was posted ninth when
caution flew at lap 51. He would pit at lap 53 for four tires,
fuel and an air pressure adjustment and with a flawless
stop by the SWM-NEMCO crew, Nemechek returned to the track in the ninth position.
With few cautions, the laps clicked off quickly and by the halfway point, Nemechek had made his way into the eighth position. Concentrating on preferred lines and opportunities to pass, the young driver was quiet on the radio, but making his presence known on track.
The next opportunity to pit came under caution at lap 111 and based on radio feedback from his driver that the truck was “freeing up and coming to him,” crew chief Jerry Babb made the call for four tires and fuel…no adjustments.
With the field tightened up and back under green at lap 118, Nemechek spent the next 10 laps calculating a pass for the next position, and at lap 128, had taken over the seventh position from the No. 00 of fellow teen driver, Cole Custer.
With 50 to go, Nemechek mounted a challenge for the next spot and gave the fans a familiar show racing side by side with last year’s series champion, Matt Crafton. Earlier in the season the two put on quite a show while racing for the lead at Gateway Motorsports Park. This time, Crafton would eventually take secure the position on the .533-mile bull ring, but with attrition claiming one front runner, Nemechek would take over another spot in the closing laps to grab his third sixth-place finish in six starts this season.
“It was a lot of fun today,” said a smiling Nemechek in his post-race interview. “We had a really great truck today that just seemed to get better as it went on. Dad and I were talking quite a bit on the radio about what I needed to do and different lines and everything else and I just can’t thank these guys enough for the truck they put together. This place is a blast.”
The younger Nemechek is sharing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Season in the No. 8 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Tundra with his father and NASCAR Veteran, Joe Nemechek. With 13 starts between them they have finished no worse than 15th this season. Joe leads the finish category with a high of third and John Hunter is credited with three sixth-place finishes.
Next up on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is on the 2.459-mile road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park near Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. John Hunter will take the wheel for the SWM-NEMCO effort in his seventh start of the season. The race will air live on Fox Sports 1 at 1:30pm on Sunday, August 31.