John Hunter Nemechek continued to wow the critics this weekend after posting a career-best sixth-place finish in Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. It was his fourth start in the series and second of the year in his No. 8 Toyota Tundra.
With race sponsorship from Hard Rock Energy and ACME Markets, Nemechek took to the “Monster Mile” for a brief practice session on Thursday before rain cancelled the balance of the day’s on-track activity. In just 20 minutes of practice, however, the 16-year old posted the third-fastest time behind Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Busch and veteran NCWTS competitor German Quiroga.
Foregoing Friday’s scheduled qualifying session for another round of practice, NASCAR made the call to set the starting field according to the NASCAR rule book which put Nemechek seventh on the grid – according to where the team currently sat in NCWTS owner’s points.
With the green flag dropping at 5:51pm EDT later that day, Nemechek settled in for 200 laps around the one-mile, high-banked oval at Dover – a track on which he had taken a lap for the first time during a test session the week prior.
Running consistently in the top-seven through the early laps, Nemechek reported a combination of “tight” into the corner and “loose” off and the team began to set their strategy for adjustments according to his feedback. Running in the seventh position, Nemechek’s first opportunity to pit came at lap 75. He brought his Hard Rock Energy/ACME Tundra to the attention of the crew for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. With Nemechek handily doing his job on the track, the crew got him out in the fifth position, doing their part on pit road.
Back underway, Nemechek continued to communicate how the truck was responding while holding his own racing among some of NASCAR’s finest. Second round pit stops came shortly after the halfway point and again, the crew gave him speedy service and adjustments to help the truck’s handling. Restarting in the fifth position at lap 139, Nemechek was eyeing what could be his best career finish.
With another adjustment stop at lap 157, the young Nemechek was set for the finish and would not pit again barring any unseen circumstances. As the closing laps wound down, Nemechek continued to manage his Tundra while fighting for every inch and position the truck would give him. As the checkered flag fell, Nemechek had rallied to a sixth-place finish, the best of his young NCWTS career.
“I can’t thank you guys enough for the effort this weekend – you gave me a fast truck and great pit stops and I appreciate everything,” said an elated Nemechek over the radio during the cool-down lap. “I have so many people to thank for today’s run ,” Nemechek continued after climbing from his race truck. “Hard Rock Energy and ACME came on board for our first race together this weekend and we’re incredibly thankful for their support and hope this is the first of many races together. As a team, we’re focused on continuing to improve our finishes every race and eventually taking this Tundra to victory lane.”
In addition to shining in his Hard Rock Energy/ACME Tundra on the track, Nemechek kept busy off-track as well. He visited the ACME Convenience Tent and Dover Downs Fan Zone location to sign autographs and Saturday evening he was joined by his father Joe Nemechek at the Dover ACME store for autographs and a friendly “Nemechek/ACME Sweep” challenge. Together, the two gathered groceries which, after ACME and sponsor matches, ended up being some $4400 going to the Delaware Food Bank. The Nemechek’s capped off the weekend with an autograph session for ACME invited guests at the “Monster Mile” on Sunday morning.
From here, the NCWTS goes to Texas Motor Speedway for the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 on Friday, June 6. With 16-year old John Hunter Nemechek approved for only tracks of 1.25 miles in length or smaller due to NASCAR’s age restriction, Joe Nemechek will take the wheel of the No. 8 Tundra for his third event of the season. Fox Sports 1 will televise the event live beginning at 9:00pm EDT with MRN and SiriusXM Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
John Hunter Nemechek will return to NCWTS action the following week for the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL on Saturday, June 14.