Proud of his win, John Hunter Nemechek defends Truck race finish
MORE: Custer: 'He wanted to ruin our day' John Hunter Nemechek made the media rounds Wednesday to promote NASCAR's upcoming Camping World Truck Series race in Chicago and to talk about the series' inaugural Chase, which starts later this month in New Hampshire. But there was this one "other thing" everyone was more eager to discuss with last weekend's winner: Nemechek's bump of Cole Custer in the final corner and the ensuing pass-in-the-grass to edge Custer for the win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday. It was a dramatic finish, and Nemechek acknowledges, it was also controversial. So much so that a frustrated Custer, 18, ran across the track and tackled Nemechek , 19, as the second-generation driver waited near the officials' stand to receive the checkered flag. "There's been a lot of attention toward the finish and towards me on social media but like we said, we're happy that we got the win and we won't take that away from anything," Nemechek said. "But if the circumstances of us going in the grass hadn't happened, they wouldn't be talking about the finish. That's the only thing you'd like to go back and change, is not ending up in the grass." As he did on Sunday, Nemechek did not back down from his elation at winning even under contentious conditions. "I'm definitely proud to get the win, to get our second win of the year checked off our list and have some momentum going into the Chase," Nemechek said. "It was a great day for our whole team. I hate the circumstances it ended under with us in the grass, and that definitely wasn't what we were trying to do in making the pass. "If we could go back and change the circumstances we would, but a win is a win and we'll take it." It was actually the second win this season for the No. 8 Chevrolet truck, owned by Nemechek's father, Joe , a former NASCAR Busch Grand National (now called the XFINITY Series) champion. And John Hunter said his father -- along with many others -- offered support following the race. Nemechek did note, however, that his father had not seen the race ending live and did not see a replay until after the Victory Lane celebration. "He said congrats on the win and that I did everything right all day and we executed our strategy well, having to save fuel there at the end," Nemechek said. "I actually ran out of gas on the cool-down lap so we stretched it as far as we could. But he ( Joe Nemechek ) said, 'You were smart all day, and you were there at the end. That's what made the victory.' " Custer is not high enough in points to earn a Chase berth and will now have one more shot to score a victory at Chicagoland on Sept. 16 and earn his position in the Chase. In addition to the tackle at the race track, Custer has candidly shared his displeasure about the ending with the national media this week. There have even been suggestions that Custer may try to even the score by wrecking Nemechek during the championship Chase although Custer never directly said such. Nemechek did acknowledge the possibility himself. "You can't be paranoid, you can't worry," Nemechek said. "If it happens, it happens. "I definitely think it would be a whole different story and you'd expect payback if it ended like the Ty Dillon incident a couple years ago where he ended up in the tire barriers and didn't finish the race. "We raced back to the line and finished first and second. So who knows what's going to happen. You can't worry about it." As for Custer and Nemechek racing together at Chicago in the final race before the Camping World Truck Series Chase grid is set, Nemechek is hopeful that time and maybe some effort on his part will ease the tension. "I haven't spoken to him yet, but I expect to in the future," Nemechek said.
Cam Newton retires the dab, but was it ever really his ... or Joe Nemechek's ?
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton announced Thursday that he's retiring "The Dab," which he made popular during the 2015-16 NFL season. But let me ask -- was it ever really his to begin with? NASCAR veteran "Front Row" Joe Nemechek may have a bone to pick with the NFL's reigning MVP over a possible copyright infringement. Just take a look at the photo above, from Feb. 27, 2015 -- a solid seven-plus months before the 2015-16 NFL season even began. We can clearly see in the image that Nemechek is DAB-bing. Let's go back a little further. Here's Nemechek with the D.A.B. on July 4, 2014. Need more evidence? How about a shot from 2012. Oh, and guess what. It runs in the family. Unless of course ... Newton is referring to the dance move and not former sponsor D.A.B Constructors. In that case, nobody tell Austin Dillon .
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."
No. 8 of Nemechek fails post-race inspection
RELATED: Full race results " Current Truck Series Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. – Following the conclusion of Saturday's UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series inaugural Chase race, NASCAR officials announced that the No. 8 Chevrolet of John Hunter Nemechek failed the post-race heights inspection. Nemechek brought out the fourth caution of the day, spinning on Lap 53 after slight contact with Kaz Grala, but rallied to finish ninth. The driver currently sits fourth on the Chase Grid. Any penalties would be announced later in the week. MORE: Full driver standings
John Hunter Nemechek wins wild Atlanta Truck race
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga. – In a wild race that saw some of the best trucks in the field destroyed before the finish, John Hunter Nemechek held off Cameron Hayley in a two-lap dash to the checkers to win Saturday's Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway . But it was a skull session with 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick the night before that was instrumental in guiding Nemechek to victory in his unsponsored No. 8 Chevrolet. "I've got to give a shout-out," said Nemechek , who was racing at AMS for the first time. "I can't thank Kevin Harvick enough. I went and sat with him for about 30 minutes to an hour last night, trying to learn everything I could." Obviously, the lesson paid off. After extensive cleanup from Christopher Bell 's hard crash into the Turn 4 wall, Nemechek chose the inside line for a restart on Lap 199 of 200. When John Wes Townley spun his tires in the outside lane, Nemechek pulled away to beat Hayley to the stripe by .305 seconds. The victory was Nemechek's second in 32 Truck Series starts and his second on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, the first coming last year at Chicagoland Speedway . At 18 years, 8 months and 16 days, Nemechek is the youngest NASCAR national series winner at Atlanta. Before the family-owned team with a shoestring budget could get to Victory Lane, however, attrition took care of the drivers who led the majority of laps leading up to the finish. Two corners after a restart on Lap 112 — following the race's second expiration of the 20-minute caution clock — Bell lost the nose of his No. 4 Toyota, hooked Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Daniel Suarez 's No. 51 Tundra and turned Suarez into race leader Matt Crafton , who had spent 76 circuits at the front of the field. MORE: Caution Clock expires for first time in CWTS " Bell triggers big wreck The trucks of Crafton and Suarez were damaged beyond repair, leaving Bell, who lead 42 of the 130 laps, to grab the top spot after the subsequent restart on Lap 116. Bell pulled away, but on Lap 123, a tire rub resulting from the earlier contact finally popped the right front, and Bell’s Toyota swerved straight into the outside wall in Turn 4. Behind Nemechek and Hayley, Timothy Peters came home third, followed by Daniel Hemric and Grant Enfinger, respectively. Nemechek was circumspect about the circumstances surrounding his conversation with Harvick, but the information he received was clearly valuable. "That's kind of a secret," said Nemechek , who got pit crew help from Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Sprint Cup team. "But Kevin's one of the best racers here in Atlanta, so I had to ask him. He's very good at conserving tires, very good at winning races here, so to go and talk to him was very special." Nemechek also got advice from his father and team owner Joe Nemechek , who won a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta in 2001. Eighth-place finisher Parker Kligerman took the lead in the series standings by one point over Hemric and three over Nemechek . The afternoon proved expensive for Kyle Busch , who as a driver won the first leg of the Saturday doubleheader in the XFINITY Series race, only to lose three trucks as an owner in the nightcap. In addition to the wrecked trucks of Bell and Suarez, Busch also had to write off the engine of William Byron, which blew on lap 59, with Byron running second.
John Hunter Nemechek to take over full-time reins
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
Nemechek , Byron ready for anything in Truck Chase
RELATED: Truck Chase Grid " Learn more about the drivers in the Truck Chase LOUDON, N.H. -- The inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase is upon us, which means the pressure, nerves and action that come along with it are set to rise to unparalleled levels over the next eight weeks. So is the tension. After John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer fought, quite literally, to the finish and beyond at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last month -- rguably costing the JR Motorsports his spot in the Chase, as the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet came away victorious in that one -- the consensus is that Custer will find a way to repay the favor to Nemechek at some point during the series' first playoff season. RELATED: Custer, Nemechek get physical at Canada The two-time 2016 winner doesn't see it that way. "I wouldn't say we have a target on our back; we're all racers," Nemechek said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , site of Saturday's Chase-opening UNOH 175 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). " … You can't really worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. You just kind of have to take it race by race, lap by lap. And we're going to go out there and focus on our race and do everything we have to do to get another win." Custer narrowly missed out on the Chase cut, ending up tied with Cameron Hayley as the first drivers on the wrong side of the standings bubble. Taking that into consideration, along with how the future Stewart-Haas Racing XFINITY Series driver charged at Nemechek following the Mosport checkered flag, it may be a stretch to think that Nemechek won't be targeted for payback at some point during the Chase. William Byron didn’t cross too many drivers on his way to notching the top spot for the landmark CWTS Chase, but he did cross plenty of finish lines ahead of them -- five, in fact. RELATED: Byron checks off boxes one milestone at a time Unlike Nemechek , the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver sees the level of competitiveness rising -- potentially along with the tempers. "I think the competition and intensity is going to ramp up here in the last seven races," Byron said Friday at the "Magic Mile." "We've seen that in the (Sprint) Cup Series and so now we're going to be able to experience that here in the Truck Series, so I'm looking forward to it." Regardless of whether the threat of payback looms large or not, there's an incumbent sense of pressure and nerves that comes along with being among the youngest drivers -- not to mention title favorites -- in the first-ever Chase format for the series. The nerves haven't fully crept in yet, but that could change in a hurry. "We're going to take it race by race and we're not going to let the pressure or nerves get to us unless it's a pressure situation where we have a bad race," Nemechek said. "We're going to go out and do what we do best and that's to run our race, try and lead laps and run up front and hopefully get another win. If you can't do that, salvage a bad day into a good day. You just can't make mistakes. You have to make every day the best you possibly can. In reality, nobody really knows what to expect come Saturday. "I think a little bit of nerves just with the unexpected of what this format is going to be like for us, but honestly it's exciting and it's something new and it’s the new era of the playoff-type format, so I'm looking forward to it," said Byron. "It's something that we've been preparing for and I think we’re going to see what happens here in the next seven races."
Throwback Thursday: Nemechek Sweeps Kansas
In 2004 “Front Row” Joe Nemechek swept the weekend at the Kansas Speedway with two close and thrilling victories.
Close call for A. Dillon as Nemechek spins
Joe Nemechek spins and creates a close call for Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon.
Nemechek doesn't feel like a target is on his back
John Hunter Nemechek talks about the pressure of being in the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase and he does not feel that there is a target on his back.