John Hunter Nemechek: Driver, No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Event: Talladega 250, Race 21 of 23 (Race 2 of 3, Round of 8)
94 Laps – 20/20/54; 250.04 Miles
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 1, 2022, at 12:30p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Neme’chek’ the Facts:
John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety team head to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for the second race in the Round of 8 in the Camping World Truck Series playoffs nine points below the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4. In the last Truck Series event at Bristol, an incident in practice forced the No. 4 team to bring out their backup truck and start from the rear of the field. Despite starting in the rear, Nemechek drove to a 12th-place finish and picked up three stage points with an eighth-place finish at the end of Stage Two.
The 25-year-old driver has made six Truck Series starts at Talladega, with a best result of fourth in last year’s event. He was leading on the final lap last year before being turned as the field came through the tri-oval and sent sliding sideways across the stripe. He finished eighth in each of his Cup Series starts at the Alabama track, both in 2020. In the Xfinity Series, he has finished inside the top 10 in both of his Talladega starts, with a best result of sixth in 2019.
In his most recent superspeedway race in the Truck Series, Nemechek led 50 laps in the 2022 season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway before a late-race incident relegated him to a 24th-place finish.
With just three races remaining in the 2022 Truck Series season, Nemechek continues to lead Truck Series regulars in poles (six) and driver rating (105.3). He is also second in average running position (8.772) and third in laps led (352) and average starting position (7.9).
The Toyota Racing driver made his tenth Xfinity Series start of the season this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, piloting the No. 18 GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing. Nemechek qualified fourth and led the second most laps (60) before being caught up in an incident on lap 116, relegating him to a 28th-place finish.
Pye-Barker Fire & Safety, an industry leader in commercial fire protection since 1946, will serve as the primary sponsor for Nemechek at Talladega. Pye-Barker, who acquired Nemechek’s long-term partner Fire Alarm Services in 2021, will also serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Tundra TRD Pro for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway (11/4).
Nemechek is a 13-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 in 2021 and 2022 with KBM. Across 144 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, he has compiled eight poles, 1,533 laps led, 49 top-five and 80 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.3.
Eric Phillips returned to lead the No. 4 team in 2022. His 43 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 34 of those coming while at KBM including five last year. 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 Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the first team in Truck 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. At Talladega, Phillip’s drivers have collected one win, two top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.0 across eight starts. He was victorious with KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch at the 2.66-mile tri-oval in 2010.
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver Q&A:
How will you approach Talladega Being nine points below the cutoff with two races remaining in this round?
“You just have to go race. Stage points matter and finishing position matters. Talladega can make or break you.”
You were so close to a win there last year. Do you feel like maybe it owes you one?
“It’s superspeedway racing. All you can do is put yourself in a position to have a shot at the end and control everything you can control. It would be a very good weekend to get back to victory lane and lock ourselves into the Championship 4.”
What do you think makes a good superspeedway racer?
“I think overall, being a good superspeedway racer is recognizing the situations – being able to know when to side draft and when not to side draft and using the air and the run to your advantage. The Trucks are a little bit different than a Cup car or an Xfinity car, they definitely draft different. I feel like it’s more single-file or pack-style racing compared to the other series. There are a lot of new guys to superspeedway racing, with not a lot of experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series compared to the other two series. You have to be on the lookout for that as well. I think just recognizing the situations, knowing when to take a run and when not to take a run. Knowing who your drafting partners are – who you can trust and who you can’t trust is what all goes into making a really good superspeedway racer.”
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
13-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 144 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled eight poles, 1,533 laps led, 49 top-five and 80 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.3. Registered a career-high and series-leading five victories in 2021, earned the NCWTS Regular Season championship and finished third in the final standings after qualifying for the Championship Four for the first time in his career.
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.
Across 66 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled two wins, one pole, 570 laps led, 17 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.5.
John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Pye-Barker Tundra TRD Pro:
KBM-13: The No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety team will unload KBM-13 for Saturday’s race at Talladega. Nemechek has raced this Tundra once earlier this season at Daytona where he qualified second and led 50 laps before getting caught up in a late-race incident and finishing 24th. KBM-13 is the same chassis that Nemechek piloted at Talladega last fall, where he was leading on the final lap before being turned and crossing the finish line sideways in the fourth position. KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch won with KBM-13 at Daytona in 2014.
KBM Notes of Interest:
KBM drivers have collected two wins, two poles, 79 laps led, 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.1 across 31 starts at Talladega.
Raphael Lessard picked up the organization’s most recent victory, collecting his first win of his Camping World Truck Series career in 2020 at the 2.66-mile tri-oval. Owner-driver Kyle Busch was victorious in the 2010 event when he finished 0.002 seconds ahead of Aric Almirola in the closest finish in Truck Series history since electronic scoring was instituted.
KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (98) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, Corey Heim became the 18th 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 18 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!