NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Event: CRC Brakleen 150, Race 13 of 22, 60 Laps – 15/15/30; 150 Miles
Location: Pocono Raceway (Pa.) in Long Pond (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: June 26, 2021 at noon ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Neme’chek’ the Facts:
John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Power Up team head into Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 150. So far in 2021, Nemechek leads the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series in wins (four), stage wins (eight), top fives (seven), and laps led (473). Nemechek continues to lead Ben Rhodes by 70 point standings.
Nemechek will be looking to accomplish Saturday what he has done twice already this season, beat KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch head-to-head. Nemechek bested his boss at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March and at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April. Busch finished second to his pupil in both of those events. Busch was victorious at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in March and Kansas Speedway in May. Saturday’s 60-lap event at Pocono will be Busch’s fifth and final Truck Series start of 2021.
Across three career Camping World Trucks starts at The Tricky Triangle, Nemechek has collected one top five, two top 10s, nine laps led and an average finish of 8.7. Across two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, Nemechek has a best finish of seventh and an average finish of 9.5. Across two NASCAR Cup Series starts in 2020, Nemechek’s best finish was 19th.
Nemechek is a 10-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, and returning to victory lane this year with KBM. Across 114 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, the second-generation driver has compiled two poles, 1082 laps led, 35 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.6. The North Carolina native qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017. He was voted the series most popular driver in 2015.
Eric Phillips returns to KBM to lead the No. 4 team this season. Phillips led the No. 18 team at KBM in its debut season in 2010 and helped build the organization into one of the premier teams in all of NASCAR before departing at the end of the 2014 season. Under his guidance, the No. 18 team won eight races in its inaugural campaign and became the first team in Truck Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the No. 51 team to an owner’s championship and his team’s 10 wins spearheaded KBM to a single-season Truck Series record of 14 wins. His 41 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 31 of those coming while at KBM. Across four starts at Pocono, Phillips has collected three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 3.8. His driver’s have finished in the runner-up finish twice; Kasey Kahne (2010) and Kyle Busch (2011).
Saturday’s race will mark the 12th time that the Camping World Truck Series has raced at Pocono. Across 26 starts, KBM has collected five wins (Kyle Busch: 2015 & 2018; William Byron: 2016; Christopher Bell: 2017; Brandon Jones: 2020), 12 top fives, 20 top tens, 244 laps led and an average finish of 9.1.
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John Hunter Nemechek | Pocono Preview
Pocono is known as The Tricky Triangle. What’s the trickiest part of Pocono?
“The trickiest part of the Tricky Triangle is getting your truck to handle in all three corners. What Turn 4? There is no Turn 4 there. Turn 1 is completely different from Turn 2 and Turn 2 is completely different from Turn 3 and Turn 3 completely different from Turn 1. There are a lot of differences, but you have to make your truck go around the racetrack and handle in all three in order for it to be fast. There are a lot of handling characteristics this weekend. There is a lot a driver can do as well in trying to manipulate what the truck can do handling wise trying to get speed out of it, especially for the long run.”
It’s a short race this week. Do you think with your playoff spot solidified it will give you an advantage over those racing for points?
“I think being able to pull some different strategy with having four wins now and being the points leader. Obviously, we don’t want to lose a ton of points with three races left in the regular season. We want to go out and close on that regular season championship, but if it comes down to a strategy call, then I’m sure Eric will be on top of it, whether that’s pitting early, pitting late or whatever it may be. It opens the window of opportunity for us to gamble a little bit more and go out and get that race win. We want to go out and win stages and gain as many points as we possibly can, but we also want to win the race. Whatever it comes down to, winning the race is more important to us right now.”
Kyle is running his final truck race of 2021 this weekend. What would it mean for you to come out with three wins over Kyle’s two Saturday?
“Well, the series is tied 2-2. Hopefully I can end up on top. Out of five races, it would be really cool for us to bring home three of those victories and Kyle only two. I think before I came this year to KBM, Kyle had either finished first or second in 19 of the last 20 races out of what he’s run. I’m OK with him finishing second, but I need to beat him. It would be amazing to be able to accomplish that. I feel like we have the best team in the garage. We just have to continue to push through, work hard, keep our head down, and race the racetrack.”
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
Ten-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports. Across 114 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled two poles, 1,082 laps led, 35 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.6.
Qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017.
Produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.
Across 52 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled one win (Kansas Speedway, 10/20/18), one pole, 225 laps led, 12 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.0.
John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Power Up Tundra:
KBM-056: The No. 4 Power Up team will unload KBM-56 Saturday at Pocono for its maiden voyage in 2021. Last season, Raphael Lessard ran the chassis three times with a best finish of 11th at Homestead-Miami Speedway in June and again at Kansas Speedway in July. Overall, the chassis has been run eight times with an average finish of 12.9.
KBM Notes of Interest:
Across 26 starts at Pocono Raceway, KBM drivers have earned five wins, two poles, 244 laps led, 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 8.1 and an average finish of 9.1.
Brandon Jones picked up his first career Truck Series victory in last year’s race. Busch won in 2015 and 2018, William Byron was victorious in 2016, and Christopher Bell brought home the hardware in 2017.
KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (87) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Martin Truex Jr. became the 16th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
The No. 4 has 15 career victories at KBM and was the number for both of the organization’s driver championships.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!