HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The two Most Popular Drivers were absolutely suited for NASCAR's big awards. Second-generation NASCAR mega-talents, both Chase Elliott ( XFINITY Series) and John Hunter Nemechek ( Camping World Truck Series) absolutely earned the distinction and the nod in Monday awards presentation. Elliott, who will drive the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevy next year in the Sprint Cup Series -- replacing the retiring Jeff Gordon -- was typically low-key and humble about the whole NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series awards evening. But he was eager to get going in his Cup career after a championship and second place finish (2015) in the XFINITY Series. Earning the Most Popular Driver Award for the recent season must have felt very appropriate for the son of Bill Elliott , who took the Cup Series vote a record 16 times. Dale Earnhardt Jr . has won it the past 12 years. "I think we have definitely a lot of work to do to catch Dale in that sense," a smiling Elliott said. "But I'm very appreciative of the support I've had, especially the past two years and I've noticed it. I don't think people realize how much that means to a driver when they see you wearing their T-shirt. It goes a long way for me. Seeing them do that means a lot." Elliott conceded he and his father, a NASCAR Hall of Famer, haven't discussed this honor's impact even though he is touched to receive it. "We really haven't talked about that," Elliott said. "Fortunately he (his dad) had a big following and some of those people are following me. Can't look past that. Dale has an obviously great following and I'm a Dale fan too." Nemechek , 18, was equally as excited to be recognized on the Camping World Truck Series side. A second-generation racer who won his first major race this season, Nemechek was obviously moved by the honor. "It definitely can't hurt to win the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, " Nemechek said. "It's definitely an honor for me and my family, but more importantly, hopefully it'll help us gain some reputation on selling some sponsorship for the seasons tocome. Can't thank all of the supporters enough that voted, and all the friends and family as well." Nemechek is the second family member to be honored with the award. His father, Joe Nemecheck -- a former XFINITY Series champion and four-time Cup winner. "Yeah, he won I think in 1992 and '93, so it's awesome to be able to win an award that he's won," Nemechek said. "I beat him to something. "I wish he wouldn't have won most popular so I could've beat him to that. We're very competitive, but to get my first truck win when he didn't was very special as well. He wants one bad." With Elliott moving into the Cup series and Nemechek hoping to continue his rise in the NASCAR ranks in 2016. "It definitely is special to hear how good you're doing with the equipment that you have," Nemechek said. "We utilize our resources to the absolute max that we possibly can. We try and get our trucks as good as we can. There's a lot of late nights and hard work put in with just a few people. Finding the funding to get a few more people and not have to work as late and getting some free time to work on some other projects could even make us better, but it was definitely a good year. Getting our first win and finishing in the top five so many times, all the hard work did pay off. "We're still working on trying to find funding. Nothing is set in stone yet. It's all kind of up in the air right now, so still trying to find those possible partners to sit down, sign a deal with, hopefully for years to come."
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings JOLIET, Ill.—One of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' youngest drivers struck a blow for old-school racing on Saturday morning at Chicagoland Speedway . Stretching his fuel mileage beyond the capabilities of most of his of competitors, John Hunter Nemechek rolled across the finish line 12.014 seconds ahead of Tyler Reddick , who was also saving fuel, to score his first victory in the series in the American Ethanol e15 225. At 18 years, 3 months and 8 days, Nemechek is the fourth youngest winner in the series, and he accomplished the victory with a skeleton crew working on a team owned by his father, Joe Nemechek . Nemechek , a current member of the NASCAR Next class, came to pit road for the last time on Lap 94, topping off under caution one lap before the race returned to green, and managed to squeeze 56 laps out of his last tank of gas. Inheriting the lead on Lap 149 of 150 when Keystone Light Polesitter Kyle Larson ran out of fuel and brought his car to pit road, Nemechek ran out of gas off the final corner and coasted across the stripe. "We got to top off there with one to go, and he (crew chief Gere Kennon) told me to save fuel, save fuel that last run, and that's what we ended up doing," John Hunter Nemechek said. "I ran out coming out of Turn 4. It was great strategy that he had worked up in his mind. "I should know never to doubt him." When Nemechek took the green flag for the last time on Lap 96, Kennon figured the No. 8 Chevrolet was four laps short of finishing the race but didn't give his driver the specific numbers. "I just told him to save," Kennon said. "It got to 10 (laps) to go, and I said, 'Just slow down—just save.' He didn't say anything back, and I was like, 'He may not know how to save.' I told him to slow down even more, and it all worked out.' Exclusive of Joe Nemechek and son, Kennon is one of nine full-time employees supporting the Truck Series operation. "You have to think," Joe Nemechek said. "Gere Kennon and myself—we're thinkers. We're old-school thinkers. You had to figure stuff out back in the past, not with engineering, but with the old-school way of thinking 'How do you make it better?' And we've been able to do that." John Hunter Nemechek is quick to acknowledge the financial and emotional commitment his father has made to his racing effort. "He has everything invested in me, and he believes in me, so, without him, none of this would be possible, and I wouldn't be here today," John Hunter said. With his runner-up finish, Reddick took over second place in the series standings, 10 points behind leader Erik Jones , who finished sixth. Two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton suffered two pit road penalties, ran out of fuel and finished 14th, three laps down, to fall to third in points, 11 behind Jones. Timothy Peters led 41 laps and finished third, followed by Daniel Suarez , who overcame two pit road penalties to run fourth. Johnny Sauter led a race-high 52 laps and came home fifth. The race was originally scheduled to take place Friday night but was postponed due to rain until this morning.
18-year-old will take full control of No. 8 Chevrolet in Truck Series One day following his 18th birthday (June 11), John Hunter Nemechek will settle back in the driver's seat of the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet for good. Nemechek , who has been sharing seat time with his father Joe in the No. 8 truck, will grow old enough to be eligible to finish the remainder of the NCWTS schedule beginning in Saturday’s American Ethanol presents the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren at Gateway Motorsports Park (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The NASCAR Next member will spend his first day as a legal adult, not celebrating, but doing what he does every day – improving himself as a race car driver. "I'll be here at the race shop working on my birthday," Nemechek said. "We're non-stop working, trying to get these trucks done, trying to make everything better, so we can go out and contend for wins." If Nemechek races as well at Gateway on Saturday as he did last season, he has a very good chance at visiting Victory Lane. He led 53 laps before a late spin relegated him to 15th. In the process he drew praise on Twitter from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Tony Stewart , Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Danica Patrick . "How cool is it watching @JohnNemechek leading at Gateway in the @CampingWorld Truck Series race! Go get 'em kid!", Stewart tweeted. Nemechek , who will be competing in his third race this season feels ready to attack the 1.25-mile track. "Last year at Gateway we ran very well," he said. "We made huge improvements from hitting the fence in the first lap of practice to contending for a win. We had an unfortunate event that happened at the end of the race that put us out of contention, but I'm really looking forward to going back this year. It's a very fun place. Both corners are different so you have to get you're truck handling in both. "It's more of a driver’s track. You'll see some guys struggle and some guys will prevail. I'm really looking forward to going back." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The SWM-NEMCO Motorsports crew checked out the light damage on the corners of its No. 8 truck, finding nothing more than cosmetic scrapes in the aftermath at Bristol Motor Speedway, a track known for chewing up fenders and young drivers alike. "That'll buff out" seemed to be the happy consensus. Few were happier about that development Wednesday night than all-smiles John Hunter Nemechek , who turned his second Bristol start into his career-best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His third-place result was just behind race winner Ryan Blaney and runner-up Kyle Busch , two drivers with the benefit of far fresher tires down the stretch in the UNOH 200 . "It was one of those deals … don't do anything stupid. Just, you had to let them go," Nemechek said of ceding late-race positions to the front two. "You couldn't race them hard just because of tires. One way or another, he's going to get around you, if he has to move you, dump you, whatever. Decided to play it smart and we know what we need for next time." Nemechek had more to withstand in the late going after the fifth and final caution flag with five laps left extended the race distance by an extra two laps. Though the green-white-checkered attempt was completed on the first try, the frantic competition among the front-runners made Nemechek's feat of finishing where he restarted no easy task. "I spun the tires there on that last restart and I was kind of beating myself up about it going into Turn 1," Nemechek said, "and then they all stacked up and I had a chance to get underneath of them so I took it. We got under them and made the pass." Nemechek's growth as a driver -- three top-10s in just eight starts this year -- has been measured in progress that goes well beyond his 18 years of age. The veteran poise doesn't fall far from the family tree, owing at least a nod to his father, Joe Nemechek . "He's had a good teacher, his dad," said Gere Kennon, crew chief of the SWM-NEMCO No. 8. "… I'm proud to help him because I've raced just like Joe -- his whole life, my whole life. He listens. He's doing good and he's adapted to this very, very well. We help on the Late Model car, too, and he's consistent there. Haven't seen that in a long time. He's the real deal, I think." The younger Nemechek , who took over full-time driving duties for the team after his 18th birthday in June, has nine races ahead of him to close out the 2015 season. He's improved upon his career-best with each of his top-five finishes thus far, but said more improvement in the results column -- or even the win column -- is a reachable goal. "I hope we can have a couple more top-fives, but hopefully we can get a win under our belt," Nemechek said. "I feel like we have the potential to do so. We've just got to have Lady Luck on our side."
John Hunter Nemechek will split the 2015 NCWTS season with his father Joe Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- John Hunter Nemechek might not have years of experience propelling him into NASCAR's national ranks, but he may have something better -- the lessons handed down from his father, entering his 26th year competing in NASCAR's top divisions. But Joe Nemechek , 51, has shown he's not just a grandstand-watching dad with a vested interest in his 17-year-old son's budding career. He's still getting his fingers dirty under the hood and taking his turn in the driver's seat, making his father-son mentorship more hands-on than most. "He's the hardest worker that you'll find around, the hardest-working driver, I should say," the younger Nemechek said. "Luckily, he's passed that off to me and I've learned a great deal from him. If you want to do something, you've got to work hard at it and you can't give up. I think his drive and motivation to win races and make me successful before he retires is something that he really wants me to do." The elder Nemechek's independent spirit hasn't skipped a generation, as John Hunter Nemechek prepares for his third partial season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The father-son duo will split the schedule in 2015, with Joe Nemechek racing on the circuit's larger tracks until John Hunter turns 18 on June 11, at which point his NASCAR-mandated age restriction to tracks 1.25 miles or shorter will be lifted. That time frame would clear John Hunter Nemechek to get his first whirl at an intermediate track at 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway on July 9. "I definitely feel like I'm ready for it," he said. "I feel like getting to those bigger tracks is something I've wanted to do for a while. Last year, sitting on the sidelines when Dad was running the big tracks and I was running the short tracks was kind of frustrating, just because, 'OK, I know I can do this. When am I going to get the chance?' Definitely we're counting down the days." In the meantime, the younger Nemechek has methodically begun to add his name to a stellar group of second-generation speedsters such as Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, both a few years older and with more experience on their side. John Hunter's 10-race slate on smaller tracks in the Camping World Truck Series last season yielded a career-best fifth place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and four other finishes of sixth and seventh, efforts he hopes are building blocks to more strides in 2015. Those first steps, plus an offseason victory in the prestigious Snowball Derby race for Late Model cars, have helped John Hunter exceed his father's expectations thus far -- sometimes surprisingly so. "You look at a lot of the kids that are sons of dads that raced, they've all grown up around the sport," Joe Nemechek said. "I think the biggest thing that helps them is just listening to all of us dads just talk about what our cars are doing and this and that, and they learn all that. The first time he was in the car, he's like, 'yeah, it's doing this, this and this,' and I looked at him like, 'how do you know that?' They've heard us talk, our body language and all that other stuff, and they just know." John Hunter Nemechek has certainly picked up on the mechanical know-how, helping his father in the shop by running parts, changing tires and becoming handy with a wrench around the family shop. But the influence has transcended the nuts-and-bolts side of things, as the teenager has also learned by example how to carry himself in the garage. For that, John Hunter Nemechek is grateful. "It means everything to me," the younger Nemechek said. "Without him, I wouldn't be here right now. He's put his time and effort and pretty much his life into making my career jump-start. I can't thank him enough for it." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 29 car failed post-qualifying inspection, shuffling lineup RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Joe Nemechek 's qualifying time for the GEICO 500 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN) was disallowed, NASCAR officials said after Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series . Nemechek's No. 29 car, which had qualified 24th, failed post-qualifying inspection for an improperly sealed oil tank encasement. Reed Sorenson , who was initially thought to have missed the race, was replaced in the field based on his qualifying speed. Sorenson posted a speed of 189.305 mph in the opening round of group qualifying. The driver of the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet will line up 36th in Sunday's field. Sorenson has one top-10 finish at the 2.66-mile track, which came in 2007. By making the GEICO 500 grid, Sorenson has now been in the starting lineup for every race this year. Nemechek has made 15 Sprint Cup Series starts this year but has failed to make it into the field in both of his tries in the No. 29 Toyota. Nemechek joined Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier as the drivers who failed to make the 43-car field at Talladega. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In 2004 “Front Row” Joe Nemechek swept the weekend at the Kansas Speedway with two close and thrilling victories.
Joe Nemechek spins and creates a close call for Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon.
PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 4, 2015) -- Comcast announced Wednesday three finalists selected for the inaugural Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR, Comcast created the award to honor NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors. The 2015 finalists include an individual from each of the top-three national NASCAR series: Martin Truex Jr ., driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet SS, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Joey Gase , driver of the No. 52 Ford Mustang, for the NASCAR XFINITY Series; and Martha Nemechek , whose son and grandson, Joe and John Hunter Nemechek , currently compete in the NASCAR ranks, for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "Comcast works hard to make a positive impact in the local communities where our employees and customers live and work, and that philosophy is now embedded into our partnership with NASCAR," said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Sports Marketing at Comcast. "We are proud to have Martin Truex Jr ., Joey Gase and Martha Nemechek as finalists for the inaugural Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. They embody the spirit of the award through their dedication to community service and we look forward to highlighting their causes through the award process." The 2015 Comcast Community Champion of the Year will be determined by a panel comprised of executives from Comcast and The NASCAR Foundation, as well as former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and NASCAR.com reporter Holly Cain. In recognition of their efforts, Comcast will make a donation of $60,000 to the Comcast Community Champion of the Year's affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will also be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations. "Recognizing individuals who are championing a cause or making an impact on their community is something extremely close to my heart," said Holly Cain. "I have no doubt that the people ultimately bestowed with the Comcast Community Champion of the Year award will be lifted by the prestige of the honor." "Comcast has done a great job of coming in and viewing the sport in its totality. Not just what they can get out of it, but what they can give back to it and how they become a part of the fabric of NASCAR," Kyle Petty added. "I think that's what the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award encompasses -- the giving spirit that has always been a big part of NASCAR." The winner will be named at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Banquet on November 23 at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida, which will air on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 29. Comcast has a long track record of community service , aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. To learn more about the Comcast Community Champion of the Year award, as well as the finalists, please visit: ComcastCommunityChampion.com . The 2015 Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists are: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Martin Truex Jr . (Mayetta, New Jersey) and long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex launched the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation in 2007 with the goal of raising funds and awareness for children suffering from poverty, abuse and illness -- specifically pediatric cancers. The foundation continued to grow over the next eight years, providing significant assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and building a pediatric emergency care center in Truex's home state of New Jersey. In August 2014, Pollex was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Through this experience, the couple was inspired to expand their fundraising efforts and change the foundation's mission to include a range of underfunded cancer initiatives specific to childhood and ovarian cancers. In 2015, the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation began a three-year partnership with Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina to assist in finding breakthrough treatments specific to pediatric cancers. Every day, Truex sports a bracelet encompassing his personal motto as well as the Foundation's inspiration: Never Give Up . NASCAR XFINITY Series: Joey Gase (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) lost his mother Mary Jo to a brain aneurysm when he was just 18 years old. Since she was not married at the time, Gase was faced with the decision of whether or not she would want to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. Later on, he found out that the decision he made to donate his mother's organs helped save and improve the lives of 66 people. Overwhelmed by the impact, Gase sought opportunities to promote donation through the local organ procurement organizations (OPO) in each state. Throughout the past few years, he has been able to use his platform as a NASCAR driver to host meet-and-greets with families who have been impacted by organ donation, visit children who have been hospitalized, promote organ donation through sharing his story at high schools, and more. At just 22 years old, his efforts have already produced great dividends. Gase often has people reach out to let him know that had it not been for his story, they never would have thought to sign up as an organ donor. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Martha Nemechek (Mooresville, North Carolina) lost her son John Nemechek to complications from head injuries sustained in an accident during a 1997 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway . In the months following the death of her 27-year old son, she was inconsolable until Nemechek received a call from Gordon Collins, a stranger empathizing with her grief, that she was able to channel into a driving force for helping those in similar situations. For the past 18 years, Nemechek has given her heart to many causes, including the exchange of supportive emails with U.S. troops in Iraq, assisting cancer patients with their wishes to meet NASCAR drivers, maintaining her World Prayer List, feeding the underprivileged, and much more. Her priority, however, is reaching out to parents who have lost children -- especially those within the racing circuit. Those impacted by her efforts are amazed at Nemechek's willingness to open up in an area that is painful for her to relive, but she is driven by her desire to reach out. The way she puts it is simple: once she began giving back, Nemechek felt like she was living again.
Recently turned 17-year-old leads first career laps in Truck Series