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
John Hunter Nemechek makes contact with Caleb Holman on Lap 157 at Iowa Speedway.
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 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 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.
Driver scores first win of 2015 Camping World Truck Series season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings MADISON, Ill. -- Cole Custer took advantage of a five-lap shootout at Gateway Motorsports Park to score his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in Saturday night's American Ethanol presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren. When race leader Tyler Reddick missed his second shift of the night on the final restart, Custer attacked and cleared the field to cruise to a 0.871-second triumph over Spencer Gallagher . It was the 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver's first win of the year and second for JR Motorsports, which won last month at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Kasey Kahne . "I was just trying to tell myself 'no excuses,'" said Custer, who won in his third start of the year. "I think we were a little bit better than the 19 (Reddick). We struggled a little bit all day. I don't know, I'm just tired. I gotta thank Haas Automation, Gene Haas, Kelley (Earnhardt-Miller), Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) for giving me this opportunity and Hendrick engines, the pit crew for coming out. "We put everything together, we didn't have the best truck, but we ran a great race." After Matt Crafton and Erik Jones , who had the two strongest trucks of the night, endured problems late in the race, the revolving door opened with Custer answering. For Gallagher, late-race strategy played into his hands -- which ultimately led to his second career top-five finish. "(We) didn't have the speed in our No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet that we wanted all day, but we started 14th, so pretty far back there and a track where track position is such a huge deal, that was kind of a cloud hanging over our head to begin with. My GMS Racing guys played the game right all night. We were able to hold off Sauter at the end there. I told my crew chief, better be lucky than good sometimes, I'll take it." Mother Nature played her hand early at Gateway, cancelling qualifying after a brief, but heavy shower a few minutes into round one of knockout qualifying. The field was set per the rule book, putting Erik Jones on the pole after turning the fastest lap in practice earlier in the day. Quickly, the track dried, but the start of the eighth race of the season was delayed nearly two hours after a heavy shower soaked the 1.25-mile oval shortly before pre-race ceremonies. Drivers were called to their trucks at 9:25 p.m. CST, with the command to fire engines less than 10 minutes later. From the start, Jones kept the lead and held the point until the first caution waved on Lap 53 for a two-truck accident in Turn 1. Matt Crafton won the race off pit road ahead of Erik Jones , Matt Tifft , Johnny Sauter and Tyler Reddick . Racing resumed, but Crafton's lead would be short-lived as Jones, a NASCAR Next alum, made the pass on the outside and retook the lead from the defending series champion. Despite being chased by Crafton, Jones kept the lead until the second yellow flag waved on Lap 80 for debris. While Jones elected to pit, Crafton stayed out, while Tyler Reddick , Johnny Sauter , Brandon Jones and Austin Theriault played strategy and took two tires. Jones was the first truck that elected for four tires and exited pit road sixth. Crafton held the lead through Lap 91 when Tifft crashed in Turn 1. Under the third caution of the race, Crafton pitted, handing the lead to his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter with Custer second. Restarting with 64 laps to go, Sauter found himself unable to hold off Custer, who ventured out to a half-second lead by Lap 100. Ten laps later, Custer had company in the form of Jones, who made the pass to reclaim the lead on Lap 112. Six laps later, a stalled truck brought out another yellow, sending the lead lap trucks to pit road for service. A flawless stop by Crafton's team sent him back to the top ahead of Spencer Gallagher , who took two tires. Jones exited third, followed by Ray Black Jr . with no tires, and Reddick. On the restart, Crafton was able to stay ahead, but Jones, hungry for his first win of the season, was quickly closing. Ultimately, Jones spun on the frontstretch 17 laps from the finish while trying to pass a lapped truck. With Jones out of the mix, Crafton found Reddick, Custer and John Hunter Nemechek looking to deny him of his fourth win of 2015. The green flag resumed with 10 laps remaining and Reddick wasted no time making his move and surging to the lead. Crafton's strong night would take a dramatic turn after Nemechek broke loose in Turn 3 and sent the No. 88 Toyota hard into the outside wall, yielding the sixth caution of the night. Custer jumped out to the lead on the final restart and cruised the rest of the way to Victory Lane. Behind Custer and Gallagher, Sauter, Nemechek and Cameron Hayley rounded out the top five, while Timothy Peters , Ben Kennedy , Reddick, Daniel Hemric and Austin Theriault comprised the top-10. "I always knew that we had trucks capable of winning," Custer said. "We just had to put everything together for a race." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action next Friday, June 19, at Iowa Speedway for the American Ethanol 200 with coverage on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where your favorite driver will pit (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1) RELATED: Full starting lineup The pit stall assignments are out for Saturday night's American Ethanol presents the Drivin for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) and Erik Jones got his pick of pit stalls at Gateway Motorsports Park. Jones, who earned the pole position based on his practice speed after qualifying was rained out, chose the pit stall closest to the exit of pit road. He has an opening in front of him when he goes to leave pit road. Cole Custer (starting second), Johnny Sauter (starting fourth), Brandon Jones (starting fifth), Tyler Reddick (starting sixth), Austin Theriault (starting 10th), John Hunter Nemechek (starting 12th) and Tyler Young (starting 17th) all have openings in front of them on pit road. Timothy Peters chose the first pit stall closest to the entrance of pit road. The Gateway race is the eighth race of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Allgaier, Buescher, Crafton and Nemechek on truths about race car drivers
Young driver has four top-10 finishes in six series starts this season