Old-school ways guide John Hunter Nemechek's rise
When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolls into Martinsville Speedway for this Saturday's Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), John Hunter Nemechek will arrive as the series’ most recent winner. It’s coming up on a five-week break for Nemechek and his fellow racers, more than a month since he pulled into the winner's circle at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his second career victory. The win sets up the 18-year-old to be in position to participate in this year's inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. Similar to the Sprint Cup Series' Chase format, eight drivers will compete for the title, attempting to advance through two elimination rounds to reach the championship-determining event at Homestead-Miami Speedway where four will vie for the title. RELATED: Truck Series Chase 101 That Nemechek is already in position to begin considering Chase scenarios is nothing short of remarkable – the son of former Sprint Cup driver Joe Nemechek had only 30 career starts in the series heading into the 2016 season. That his NEMCO Motorsports team has been able to compete against larger, more established organizations in spite of its limited resources is no less amazing. There's no questioning Nemechek’s talent – he has finished in the top five in roughly one third of his starts and has 17 career top-10 results. His first win came last season at Chicagoland Speedway . The inability to test slows progress, but it's something each team must deal with today. Nemechek said it helps that he is surrounded by so much experience on his team. "I have two of the most veteran (people) here in Dad and (crew chief) Gere Kennon," he said. "They like to do stuff the old way, old school; all their experience and knowledge I've learned from. "Dad has taught me everything he's learned in a 20-year period in a 3-4 year period. That's sped up my learning curve. Then bringing Gere on board, he's taught me a lot about these trucks; he's been in the sport forever." The elder Nemechek won four times during a 20-plus year career at the premier series level. He also won 16 times in what is now the XFINITY Series, and was that division's champion in 1992. Kennon's racing resume includes title-winning runs with two-time series champion Sam Ard in what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series, as well successful stints with Brett Bodine and Ron Hornaday in the that series. Kennon was also a chassis specialist for Roush Racing before moving into a crew chief role in the mid-‘90s for team owner Butch Mock and driver Morgan Shepherd in the premier series ranks. NEMCO Motorsports is a single-team, family-owned organization with roughly a dozen employees and limited funding. The group hired its first engineer this season. They might get out-spent, but they won't be out-worked. They might be out-engineered, but not out-smarted. "To be competitive in this series, it takes a few million dollars," Joe Nemechek said. " … It's hard to round that up on a weekly basis." Funding from Fone Fuel and Berry's Bullets has been a big help, he said, but added that his group is "making hundreds and hundreds of calls every week. "I know what we spend in this deal, and we're probably spending half of what the big teams are. But it's too hard; you just can't keep doing that and have success. At some point all your people get burned out; it's tough." Parker Kligerman has driven to the top of the points standings after teaming with the small Ricky Benton Racing organization. Nemechek sits third, behind Kligerman and Brad Keselowski Racing's Daniel Hemric . RELATED: Hemric finds perfect home " Dual roles lead to success for Kligerman He has five starts at Martinsville, more than at any other track hosting the series, and finished second there in last season's fall event. "It means a lot to be able to come back to the race track where I made my (series) debut," Nemechek said during the track's recent media day event. "I've improved a lot since then. "Also to finish second here (last fall), we've improved on our finishes every time we've been here over the past two and a half years so if we can keep doing that and just improve it by one (position) this year, we'll be good."
Hot Lap: Point-of-view look at Richmond International Raceway
NASCAR's pace car driver, Brett Bodine , takes a spin around Richmond International Raceway to showcase the unique configuration the 0.75-mile track, and shares some tips on what to look for in the Toyota Owners 400.
Groseclose's passion where rubber meets the road
Meet @nascartireguy and learn how he landed a job in the sport he loves FOLLOW: @nascartireguy on Twitter CONCORD, N.C. -- David Groseclose carefully takes the 27-year-old photograph out of its frame for closer examination, making it easier to marvel at its full-circle nature. Back then, a 10-year-old David and his older brother, Jeff -- both wearing Scouts uniforms -- sidled up to an aspiring rookie driver named Brett Bodine to pose for a photograph at the boys' home track, Bristol Motor Speedway. When their father took that snapshot in 1988, none of the parties could have imagined that the younger Groseclose would one day report to Bodine . That day came in January 2014, when Groseclose, now 37, showed up for work at the NASCAR Research & Development Center as the sanctioning body's lead tire engineer. For Groseclose -- who appropriately tweets from the handle @nascartireguy -- the position was the realization of a childhood dream, which took root from years of attending races at the Bristol track, just 10 minutes from his hometown of Blountville, Tennessee. When Groseclose stumbled upon the job listing, the enthusiasm was palpable. "Tire engineer? What could be better?" he recalled telling his wife, Susan. "She said, 'if you don't apply for that job, I'm going to divorce you.' " It never came to that, Groseclose laughed. After an initial callback, Groseclose was on the phone with Bodine , leading to an interview with both him and Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR's senior vice president of innovation and racing development. RELATED: Go inside the NASCAR R&D Center "David was exactly what we wanted; he had a passion for the sport," Bodine said last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "As you know, to survive the work schedule and the workload of this sport, you've got to have a passion for it. You can't treat this like a 9-to-5 job. During the interview process, I realized that. That's what really made myself and Gene Stefanyshyn feel really good about hiring David." Plenty of Groseclose's passion stems from his long-running association with NASCAR as a fan, attending his first Bristol race at age 5 and -- as best as he can recall -- falling asleep by the halfway point, overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. He'll be back Wednesday, overseeing an open test for Sprint Cup teams on the .533-mile track but also taking time to savor the homecoming in the Tennessee hills. MORE: Teams get ready for Bristol test In a year and a half on the job, Groseclose's responsibilities have included scheduling and supervising all Goodyear tire tests, analyzing data and driver feedback to help fellow engineers make informed choices for selecting the right compound for a given track. Groseclose said he meets with Goodyear officials on a weekly basis, but that open communication with NASCAR's tire partner is a daily process. He is also responsible for all sections of the NASCAR Rule Book regarding wheels and tires. Groseclose's diverse background includes seven years in the U.S. Navy, studies in the field of nuclear power and time spent on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, but his current duties are a natural extension of his seven-year stint with Bridgestone, where he served as the lead development coordinator and engineer for street tires. "Actually a lot of it transfers. Even though it's a racing tire, the construction, the basics are the same," Groseclose said. "Every tire's got a bead, every tire's got body-ply, every tire's got some type of belt. Now, passenger tires are steel belts and here they're not. The tread's a lot thicker on passenger tires because they've got to last a lot longer, but you can't have that thick of a tread on a racing tire because it heats up too much. If it gets too hot, it'll start coming apart. "A lot of it's the same, but parts of it are different because of the extreme conditions that racing tires have to go through." In addition to his work experience, Groseclose continues to draw upon his upbringing as a NASCAR enthusiast in the R&D setting, with Stefanyshyn often asking him to put on his "fan hat" in discussions about improving competition. That role goes even further back; Groseclose's actual fan hat from his youth was one loaded with souvenir pins, proudly displaying his status as a card-carrying member of the Harry Gant Fan Club. Groseclose's father attended Bristol's second-ever race in its inaugural season with his father, watching Joe Weatherly edge Rex White in a battle of NASCAR Hall of Famers in the 1961 Southeastern 500. His parents remain season-ticket holders. Now Groseclose shares his love of the sport with the next generation, his three young boys -- ages 8, 5 and 3, with a fourth child on the way, due in December. The only difference is that now it's not just a pastime for Groseclose, it's part of his life's work. "I loved the job I had before. I worked with really good people and it was a great job," Groseclose said. "I had no inclination of changing jobs, but when your dream job comes up, you've got to do something, right?" FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Nation congratulates Ben Kennedy on first win
MORE: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid Ben Kennedy , great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France and son of Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR, won his first career NASCAR national series race on Wednesday night, picking up the victory in the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway . The GMS Racing driver received a flood of attention on Twitter, where NASCAR Nation was quick to congratulate him on the momentous occasion. SO excited for @BenKennedy33 ! Wins Bristol and off to the Chase! pic.twitter.com/2rOWdmYStW — Lesa Kennedy (@LesaISC) August 18, 2016 @BenKennedy33 congrats — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 18, 2016 So happy for you @BenKennedy33 Big win @BMSupdates buddy! Great driving under intense pressure from @Brett_Moffitt Awesome job boys. — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) August 18, 2016 Good for you @BenKennedy33 ! — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) August 18, 2016 Hell yea so happy for @BenKennedy33 great dude awesome win! — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 ! — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) August 18, 2016 All in all...nice win @BenKennedy33 !Nice job @BMSupdates with the track! Gonna be interesting Friday n Saturday night! — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 18, 2016 Well that got the ol ticker beating kinda fast. Congrats @BenKennedy33 .... great job @Brett_Moffitt and @DanielHemric — Corey LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) August 18, 2016 Pretty impressive job @BenKennedy33 to hold on for the win. Nice work @Brett_Moffitt — Ryan Truex (@Ryan_Truex) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 nice win! you are in the Chase. Great racing way to be smooth. Great spotting and coaching @jimmyk146 — Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) August 18, 2016 Awesome job @BenKennedy33 !!! @NASCAR_Trucks — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 , enjoy it bud! Props to @Brett_Moffitt , made the most out of tonight's opportunity. — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 18, 2016 Congrats on the win @BenKennedy33 well deserved! @NASCAR — Austin Dillon (@austindillon3) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 ...Victory Lane at @BMSupdates is hard to beat. @NASCAR_Trucks — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) August 18, 2016
Brotherly shove: Bodines reflect on Indy wreck
Geoff and Brett Bodine both had a shot to win the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, but a mid-race incident between the two ended Geoff's chances. NASCAR.com host Alan Cavanna sat down with the brothers to talk about that day and how it changed them.
Contact sends Bodine into the wall
Contact between Cale Gale and Todd Bodine leads to a flat tire and contact with the wall for Todd Bodine .
Bodine makes a nice save early
Todd Bodine gets loose in Turn 3 and spins without causing major damage to his truck.
Todd Bodine blows engine
Last week's winner in Dover, Todd Bodine has early engine trouble in Texas.
Double whammy for Todd Bodine
Todd Bodine gets turned into the wall by John Wes Townley and just a few laps later, the No. 11 goes for a solo spin into the fence.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time for Bodine
Todd Bodine is a victim of circumstance after Jason White spins out.