CONCORD, N.C. – What a difference 18 hours makes.
Kyle Larson dropped the news on Sunday during a Dover rain delay that John Hunter Nemechek would be on standby for him at Kansas Speedway if Larson’s fiancée Katelyn Sweet was giving birth to their second child. Fast forward to Monday afternoon, and Larson had taken to Twitter to reveal the birth of Audrey Layne Larson.
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“It’s definitely an honor,” Nemechek told NASCAR.com during a break in the NASCAR Xfinity Series test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday. “Thankful for Kyle, Chad (Johnston, Larson’s crew chief), Chip (Ganassi, team owner) and Max (Jones, managing director of team’s NASCAR operations) and everyone at Ganassi for believing in me and actually giving me the opportunity to sit on standby just in case.”
With the baby’s early-week arrival, Nemechek’s services will likely not be needed.
“I doubt it now. I figured from the start it was going to be hard to get him out of the seat even if she was having the baby,” Nemechek said. “We’ll still be around, still be around the Cup hauler, those guys and learning as much as we can.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Nemechek on his move to Chip Ganassi Racing
While the opportunity to log some Monster Energy Series practice or race laps won’t happen just yet, the 20-year-old is keeping plenty busy. He’ll be back behind the wheel of his family-owned NEMCO Motorsports truck this Friday at Kansas in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the 37 Kind Days 250 (May 11, 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Nemechek won his most recent start in the series at Martinsville in March.
On top of that, he is running a part-time schedule in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In Monday’s test, Nemechek posted three of the top five single-lap times in the morning session.
To date, he has run six of the season’s first 10 races with a best finish of fourth in his series debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February. In those races, he has two top 10s and an average finish of 13.3.
“This year has definitely had its ups and downs,” Nemechek said when reflecting on his runs with the No. 42 Xfinity team thus far. “We’ve been fast, we’ve had tire issues and we haven’t had the finishes we’ve needed. We’re fast each and every weekend that we go to the race track; we just have to figure out how to close it out.”