Eleventh-place finish provides learning experience for driver SPARTA, Ky. -- John Hunter Nemechek had every right to enter Thursday's UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway with wide eyes and sweaty palms. Not only was he making his first start at a 1.5-mile track -- his 18th birthday on June 11 allowing him to run on any track length -- he was also hopping into the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet with no practice time due to inclement weather. Tack on the potential hazard of seeping rainwater on the track (fondly known as weepers) and the possibility of a bumpy ride due to the rough surface of Kentucky, and it's enough to make the most experienced driver's heart rate quicken. And while he appeared weary post-race, leaning against his No. 8 truck while sitting on the asphalt surface, Nemechek had a simple answer regarding if he had felt nervous with no practice time before the drop of the green: "Not at all." The young driver's performance seemed to reflect his attitude. After rolling off the grid 13th, Nemechek quickly dipped into the top bracket, running with drivers like Ryan Blaney for the top spot and even leading a lap around the asphalt oval. He finished the 225-mile event 11th. "It felt good," Nemechek said. "It showed what we can do as a team and how fast our truck really is." A fast truck in tow, the No. 8 team also received assistance on pit road from a group of men who know how to win at the highest level: the No. 48 crew of Jimmie Johnson . The crew pitted Nemechek's No. 8 in Thursday's Truck race and will pit Johnson's Sprint Cup entry on Saturday as part of their regular duties. With a strong showing in his first test on a 1.5-mile track -- NASCAR's bread-and-butter -- Nemechek showed the industry he could contend in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Nonetheless, the No. 8 wheelman looks ahead to the remainder of the season, citing areas of improvement in the upcoming races for his team. "It was fun, we had a really good truck. Just took four tires there at the end and we should have taken two or none," Nemechek said, referring to the late-race four-tire call that caused him to drop several positions on pit road. "We hauled the mail on no tires there in the middle of the race, so definitely some learning to do, but I feel like I learned a lot tonight, feel like I adapted pretty quick and can't thank my guys enough for a great truck." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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
See where drivers will pit for the Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m. ET, FS1) The Camping World Truck Series pit stall assignments are out for Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) and the 21 Means 21 Qualifying Pole Award winner Erik Jones chose the first pit stall off pit road. Jones chose a pit stall that has an empty space in front of him, as did Kyle Busch (stall 7), Austin Dillon (stall 12), Kevin Harvick (stall 17), John Hunter Nemechek (stall 22), John Wes Townley (stall 31) and Daniel Hemric (stall 37). Caleb Roark chose the first stall onto pit road (stall 40) with three empty spaces behind him. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
John Hunter Nemechek makes contact with Caleb Holman on Lap 157 at Iowa Speedway.
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
John Hunter Nemechek hits Matt Crafton on the driver-side door, while racing hard on a late-race restart in Turn 2, sending Crafton into the outside wall.
John Hunter Nemechek falls victim to transmission trouble late in the running of the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
John Hunter Nemechek has a left-rear tire go down and spins into the wall while battling for third with German Quiroga.
Dirt-track background pays off for 19-year-old in chaotic session RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Tyler Reddick claimed the top spot in final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice Wednesday at Eldora Speedway in a spin-filled final prep for the only NASCAR national series race on dirt. Reddick, who possesses a rich dirt-track pedigree, drove the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford to a best lap of 89.264 mph in the 85-minute session. He enters the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) in second place in the series standings, just 20 points behind two-time series champion Matt Crafton . NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Ty Dillon was second-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet at 88.924 mph. Timothy Peters landed the third-fastest lap at 86.248 mph on the half-mile track in the Red Horse Racing No. 17 Toyota. Illinois dirt-track hotshot Bobby Pierce, 18, was fourth-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet with Christopher Bell in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota capping the top five. Speeds were slightly slower than the first practice session, topped by 19-year-old Erik Jones in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota, but the amount of incidents rose sharply with several spins and some isolated instances of contact. The dirt cushion inched up closer to the outside wall, but a significant dip also developed at the exit of Turn 2, causing trucks to become unsettled as they traveled across the bump. The trucks of Johnny Sauter , John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer sustained the most damage. Sauter and Nemechek both backed into the outside retaining wall after separate spins, and Custer's No. 00 truck crunched into the back of the slowing truck of teenage newcomer Madeline Crane. Other drivers involved in solo spins without damage (in chronological order): Matt Tifft , Ty Dillon , Chad Boat , Custer, Brad Keselowski , Jennifer Jo Cobb (twice), Jody Knowles , John Wes Townley , Christopher Bell , Jake Griffin, Nemechek and Pierce. Former Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski managed the 16th-fastest lap among the 34 drivers to participate in final practice. Fellow Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon , winner of the truck series' inaugural dirt-track event in 2013, was seventh-fastest. Crafton registered the ninth-fastest lap in the ThorSport No. 88 Toyota. Ken Schrader , the first pole winner for the annual Eldora event, was 19th-fastest in preparation for his first NASCAR national series start of the season. Keystone Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET. Qualifying heats are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET with the 150-lap main event set for a 9 p.m. ET go. Jones fastest in opening Eldora practice Erik Jones topped the charts in Wednesday's opening practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at muddy Eldora Speedway. Jones drove the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota to a mud-slinging lap of 89.454 mph around the historic half-mile dirt track. The 19-year-old driver was fastest in qualifying last season in his Eldora Speedway debut. Jones' lap edged second-fastest Austin Dillon , who turned a 89.299-mph lap in the NTS Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet in preparation for Wednesday's third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Dillon holds the distinction as the inaugural winner in 2013 of the truck tour's only race on dirt. Bobby Pierce -- an 18-year-old dirt Late Model driver from Illinois, prepping for his first Camping World Truck Series start -- was third-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet owned by Mike Mittler. Christopher Bell was fourth-fastest in another Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra with two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton completing the top five in the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota. Dillon wasn't the only Sprint Cup regular making his mark in the opening 55-minute session. Brad Keselowski , making his first Eldora start in the truck series, brushed the wall late but was 24th-fastest in the No. 29 Ford from his own race shop. Ty Dillon , an XFINITY Series regular and part-time Sprint Cup entrant, was seventh-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet. Ken Schrader , a longtime Sprint Cup driver now racing recreationally, was 22nd-fastest in his own No. 52 Toyota. The 60-year-old Schrader won the inaugural Keystone Light Pole Award at Eldora in 2013. Teams furiously fought for grip in the early going as the ground-pounding trucks began to work in the damp dirt surface. The track's characteristics, though, created plenty of tacky mud on windshields and inside the trucks' wheel wells, caking the inside of the fenders. Ben Kennedy had the hardest contact of the 55-minute session, slamming the right side of his Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota in the Turn 4 wall. Korbin Forrister continued after a pair of spins, and Pierce also looped his truck without any damage. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In his third career Truck Series start, Christopher Bell goes to Victory Lane RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings " See the best Eldora photos In one of the most anticipated races of the year, Christopher Bell scored a dramatic win in the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic on the famed Eldora Speedway dirt. It was the first victory for Bell in just his third career start. Bell’s triumph marked back-to-back victories for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 54 Toyota Tundra at Eldora. "It's just unbelievable," said Bell in Victory Lane. "I've been coming here quite a few times and if you would have told me two years ago that my first win at Eldora was going to be in a truck, I would have told you you're crazy. This is just fantastic. I'm just thrilled to be here." Dirt late model ace Bobby Pierce scored the 21 Means 21 Pole Award earlier in the day, giving MB Motorsports, one of the longest running teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, its first-ever pole. Pierce lost the lead on Lap 1 to John Hunter Nemechek , but took it back on Lap 2. Pierce maintained control of the race, until a Lap 42 restart when Bell, also a dirt veteran, swiped the lead from Pierce in Turn 1. Bell led through Lap 60. When Spencer Gallagher spun on Lap 53, NASCAR utilized the yellow flag to serve as the competition caution originally scheduled for Lap 60, allowing teams to come in for tires and fuel. Brad Keselowski elected to stay out during the caution, inheriting the lead alongside Bell for the Lap 61 restart. Bell quickly slid by Keselowski a lap later and stretched his advantage by 1.5 seconds until a debris caution on Lap 72 brought the field to his bumper. Through the race's then-longest green flag stretch, Bell increased his lead on Pierce, but when Chris Fontaine spun on Lap 94, it once again bunched up the field. On the restart, Pierce attacked Bell and stole the lead on the backstretch and kept it through a yellow for John Wes Townley on Lap 94. Bell slid in front of Pierce two laps after the restart and held the point until the end of segment two for the second competition caution of the night. Under the yellow, most of the field elected to stay out, setting up for the start of segment three, a 40-lap dash. Showcasing his dirt track skills, Bell checked out from the field with Pierce, Ty Dillon , Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick chasing. The opportunity to pull away would be denied when the 11th caution flag of the night waved. Chasing his first career win in his truck series debut, Pierce stalking Bell for the lead, made contact with the Turn 4 wall with about 15 laps remaining, causing significant rear-end damage. Even with a battered truck, Pierce stayed on the throttle. The challenge for the lead would be slowed with 11 laps remaining when Timothy Peters went for a solo spin in Turn 2. A five-lap sprint to the finish set up for the winner of the 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic with Bell and Pierce up front on the restart. Bell would accelerate hard, while a slow restart for Pierce put him in the clutches of Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick . Pierce escaped them and set his sights on Bell. When Korbin Forrister spun with two laps to go, the drama meter pegged even more, setting up for a green-white-checkered finish. On the final restart of the night, Bell refused to give up the race lead and withstood an attempted pass by Pierce on the last lap to earn the win. "I'll tell you that’s pretty awesome that Bobby and I could come here and run 1-2," added Bell. "I never heard of him until I was at a sprint car race last year and he was running his late model. It's pretty cool that a couple of dirt guys could run 1-2 at a dirt race track." Tyler Reddick finished third ahead of Erik Jones and Daniel Hemric . Inaugural Eldora winner Austin Dillon was sixth followed by Nemechek , Cameron Hayley , Matt Crafton and Ty Dillon . The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Aug. 1 at Pocono Raceway for the running of the Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule