NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Event: UNOH 200, Race 18 of 22 (Race 3 in the Round of 10), 200 Laps – 55/55/90; 106.6 Miles
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (0.533-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Sept. 16, 2021 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Neme’chek’ The Facts:
John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team head into the final race in the Round of 10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season at Bristol Motor Speedway having already locked themselves into the Round of 8. After a tough opening race of the playoffs, where he finished 22nd at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Nemechek bounced back with a runner-up finish in the second race of the round at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Thanks in part to the 49 playoff points he accumulated during the regular season, the talented wheelman is 67 points ahead of the cutoff line and will have the sole mission of trying to add more playoff points and bring the trophy home Thursday night at Bristol.
Nemechek will be making his sixth career start at Bristol in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition. He has finished inside the top 10 in five of those starts, including three third-place finishes (2015, 2017 and 2018). In 2018, he led a race-high 104 laps and had taken the lead from Johnny Sauter with 23 laps remaining but in the closing laps suffered fuel pickup issues and fell back to third. In the Xfinity Series, he has two top-five finishes across three starts, including a third-place finish in the fall race in 2019. He finished inside the top 20 in both of his Cup Series starts in 2020, with a best result of 13th coming in the May race.
The second-generation driver has put together a remarkable season thus far in his first season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). In addition to leading the circuit in race wins (five) and stage wins (10), he leads the Truck Series in top fives (10), top 10s (13), laps led (526), fastest laps run (265), driver rating (116.1), average running position (5.953) and average finish (7.6). Nemechek registered his fifth Truck Series win of 2021 June 26 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The talented wheelman was able to beat KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch head-to-head for the third time this season. Nemechek also 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 all three of those events. Additionally, Nemechek has produced victories at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
The Toyota Racing driver is competing in the Camping World Truck Series playoffs for the third time in his career. He finished eighth in the championship standings for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, in 2016 and 2017. He qualified for the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs in 2019 and finished the final standings in the seventh position.
Nemechek is an 11-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.
The 24-year-old driver finished third in last week’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway, an organization-best finish for Sam Hunt Racing across its 36 career starts in NASCAR’s second division.
Eric Phillips returned 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 42 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 32 of those coming while at KBM. At Bristol, Phillips has 10 starts with one win coming in 2010 when Kyle Busch led a race-high 116 laps driving KBM’s No. 18 Tundra in the first leg of his historic weekend sweep. Phillips has also registered two Xfinity Series triumphs at The Last Great Colosseum, in 2017 with Busch and in 2018 with Ryan Preece.
John Hunter Nemechek | Bristol Motor Speedway Preview
Knowing that you are already locked into the Round of 8, how will you approach Thursday night’s race at Bristol?
“Points don’t matter at Bristol, the only thing that matters is trying to go win both stages and the race. We just want to win the race and get playoff points. With us already being locked in, our eyes are all set on Las Vegas for the following week for that next round. It’s all about wins, #Here4Wins.”
Is Bristol one of your favorite tracks?
“It is, Bristol is one of my favorite places to go to. I love that you can run the bottom and you can run the top. It’s a concrete surface and the track changes a lot – I have a lot of fun with it. Being able to run the top and the bottom at a race track is so much fun. It also takes you back to the short track roots – high banks, really fast race track. It races like a short track and when it is underneath the lights at The Last Great Colosseum, tempers will flare, and sparks will fly. I think that racing under the lights there is one of the greatest things as a fan to be able to watch.”
With so many guys around the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8, do you expect it to be an aggressive race Thursday night?
“I definitely think it will be a super aggressive race. You look at the cutoff line and there are five to eight guys within 18 to 20 points of each other. That can change a lot, if you have one bad race or if you get caught up in a wreck, that can change your whole playoff outcome. I’m glad that we are locked in, compared to being on the outside looking in. Overall, I think it is going to be super aggressive race, just like the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is every week.”
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
Eleven-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 119 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled two poles, 1,135 laps led, 38 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4.
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 53 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled one win (Kansas Speedway, 10/20/18), one pole, 225 laps led, 13 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.8.
John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra:
KBM-68: The No. 4 Mobil 1 team will unload KBM-68 for Thursday night’s race at Bristol. Nemechek piloted this Tundra to a 10th-place finish at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in its only outing of 2021. Across four career starts, KBM-68’s best finish was a fourth-place result with Christian Eckes behind the wheel last November at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.
KBM Notes of Interest:
KBM drivers have collected three wins, five poles, 534 laps led, nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.7 across 28 starts at Bristol.
Owner-driver Kyle Busch has collected all three of his organization’s victories at the half-mile oval, winning the Camping World Truck Series race as a part of his historic Bristol Sweeps in 2010 and 2017 and he also won the 2013 event.
KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (88) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, 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 16 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!