John Hunter Nemechek has seen a lot of firsts in his young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career and his first time on dirt proved to be just as successful as previous track debuts. Nemechek came from the 18th starting position to capture his third top-10 in five starts with a sixth-place run in the Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH on Wednesday night, July 23.
It was a full day of track activity with two practice sessions, qualifying time trials and then qualifying races before the main event. Nemechek posted the 18th-fastest qualifying effort putting him in the third qualifying race. Finishing fourth, Nemechek was locked into the feature and rolled off in the 18th position in his No. 8 MD Anderson Cancer Center Tundra.
From the drop of the green, Nemechek was on the move and settled into a top-15 position, practicing patience while finding the groove that would work best for passing. As the laps ticked off in the first 60-lap segment, Nemechek ran consistent lap times picking up a position at a time and making his way into 11th by the end of the first segment.
Reporting that his Tundra was a tick snug in the center, while jumping out when back in the gas, the crew planned for four tires and an air pressure adjustment during the break. Returning to the track as they came in, Nemechek would start the 50-lap segment from the 11th position.
Back under green at lap 62, Nemechek found his Tundra even more to his liking and reached the top 10 within one lap. By lap 87, the 17-year old had raced his way into the sixth position where he and several others jockeyed positions throughout the second segment while putting on a great show for the fans.
All of the top 15 trucks opted to stay on track during the second break creating a level playing field for the final showdown. Back underway for the final 40 laps, Nemechek remained strong and reached as high as fourth on the track during close battles. He would come away equaling his best previous finish of sixth that came at Dover International Speedway in May.
“This was fun tonight,” Nemechek said with a grin following the event. “This is a totally different and unique race track and nothing I learned testing on dirt could be applied here with the exception of sliding around. So, that all kind of went out the window. But it was really cool to race on dirt – my first time ever. It was so hard to pass tonight – you had to be so much better than the other guy in order to pass them. It was definitely a fun race and to come from 18th to sixth is pretty cool. Hopefully we come back next year and hopefully we can be a little bit better.”
Following Wednesday night’s event, Nemechek made the trip to Indianapolis where he will compete in the ARCA CRA Super Series Late Model race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday, July 25.
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway where Joe Nemechek will take the wheel of the No. 8 Tundra for his sixth event of the season. The senior Nemechek’s top finish of the season came with a third-place run at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Fox Sports 1 will televise the event at Pocono live beginning at 1:00pm EDT with MRN and SiriusXM Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
John Hunter Nemechek will return to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 20. Prior to that, he will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Watkins Glen International and Virginia International Raceway on August 8 and 16, respectively.
– NEMCO Motorsports press release. Photo credit: Speed51.com