John Hunter Nemechek eyes continued progress
August 28, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Joe Nemechek thought his driver did "an awesome job."
That it was his son behind the wheel made the finish that much more enjoyable.
"First time at Bristol, never raced here before … I mean right off the get-go he was passing cars," a smiling Nemechek said of his 17-year-old son, John Hunter Nemechek.
Making just his sixth start of the season in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, and his first on the high-banked half-mile of Bristol Motor Speedway, the younger Nemechek brought his SWM-Nemco Motorsports No. 8 Toyota home with a sixth-place finish in Thursday's UNOH 200 at Bristol.
"It was a lot of fun," John Hunter said afterward. "We've been so close to finishing top-five. I think this is our third sixth-place finish, so if we keep finishing up here we’ll keep gaining on it and hopefully get a top five or a win soon."
Nemechek qualified 13th at Bristol, and cracked the top 10 by lap 40 of the 200-lap event. He stayed inside the top 10 for the remainder of the race, which was run a day later than scheduled due to rain.
"I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it was but we had a good truck," he said. "We had it to where it would rotate underneath me and I could get a good drive off underneath them.
"I felt like I adapted pretty quick. It reminds me a lot of Dover. I thought I was going to be stuck in the back, but throughout the race I moved to a bunch of different lines to see what it would do. I definitely learned where to run, just need more experience."
Nemechek is eligible to compete only in races on tracks 1.25 miles in length, as well as the series' road courses due to his age. Joe Nemechek, team owner and four-time winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, handles the driving duties for the team on the series’ larger tracks. Together, the Nemechek family has the No. 8 truck sitting in sixth place in the owner standings with Joe earning his second-best finish in the series in June at Texas with a third-place effort.
John Hunter has finished 10th or better in four of his six starts this season, including sixth-place runs at Dover, Eldora and Bristol. He'll be back behind the wheel this weekend when the Truck Series travels to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250 (Fox Sports 1, 1:30 p.m. ET).
"We have the potential; we're getting closer and closer each time," Joe Nemechek said. "John Hunter's got such a good feel for what it needs and he's using his head out on the track.
"When you have to learn that stuff, it's so much more difficult. … When you have it, you have it and that just makes everything so much easier."
The bigger obstacle, Nemechek said, is "giving him better equipment.
"Believe me, we're spending money, we're doing the things we need to do to do that. But the guys we're racing against – look at the guys that finished in front of us, they're all champions.
"So how do you break into that? You just have to be smarter and work harder and just keep getting at it. We're getting better."