Front Row Joe? Now it’s First Place Joe.
Veteran Joe Nemechek set the all-time record for combined starts in the top three NASCAR national sets when he took the green flag in Friday night’s championship NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Ford EcoBoost 200 is career start number 1,186 for the 56-year-old driver, surpassing the marked previously held by Richard Petty. “The King” made 1,185 career starts, all at NASCAR’s highest level, over a 35-year career. Nemechek fittingly set the record driving his own truck, the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet.
Nemechek’s breakdown as of Friday night: 673 Cup Series starts, 444 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and 69 Gander Trucks starts. He has 20 wins in NASCAR’s national series, including four Cup Series victories from 1999-2004.
Nemechek made another bit of history last weekend when he and son John Hunter Nemechek became the first father-son duo to both compete in all three races of NASCAR tripleheader weekend.
Kevin Harvick is third on the all-time starts list with 1,150 combined starts heading into the weekend, meaning he should pass Petty next year. Mark Martin (1,143) and Michael Waltrip (1,072) make up the top five.
Kyle Busch (1,035), Morgan Shepherd (1,027), Terry Labonte (1,017) and Jeff Burton (1,005) are the only other drivers in history to top 1,000 total starts.