Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
by Courtney Horn
The Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend, where John Hunter Nemechek and his team have a lot to look forward to at the short track.
Nemechek has scored three top-5 finishes at the half-mile track and is searching for his first win of the 2017 season. Despite finishing 29th three weeks ago at Atlanta, Nemechek is confident that his short track experience can be beneficial to his securing a win and a playoff spot early in the season.
“I love short track racing. It’s what I grew up racing and even though it doesn’t race like a normal short track, there are some advantages that you can take there,” Nemechek told Skirts and Scuffs. “The first time I ran there I struggled a little bit just getting in the groove.”
Nemechek has seven career starts at “The Paperclip” and credits what he's learned from his short track experience to his latest success. The driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet has learned everything he knows from short track racing and is ready to get started after an extended break.
“I definitely think that going to Martinsville has everyone on our team pumped up,” Nemechek said. “We all have our eyes on that clock, so we’re going to do everything that it takes to try and bring home that clock.”
Nemechek has consistently taken advantage of every opportunity to become a better driver and for the third consecutive race this season, he'll be getting the chance to learn from someone to whom he is extremely close: his dad.
“It’s pretty cool,” Nemechek said of racing against his father, Joe Nemechek. “Not every kid gets to be able to go and do that, especially at this high of a level in NASCAR. To run against him in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is definitely something special, for not only myself but for him, too. Most dads and sons or kids are out in the backyard throwing a baseball, and we’re out here racing against each other. We’re very competitive as it is. Everything is a competition between us. Of course we want to make sure that we beat each other, but the end goal is to learn as much as we can from having two trucks there and go out and get the best possible finishes we can.”
Nemechek, who was a member of the 2015 Next Era class, will be returning to the home of his first truck series start. Nemechek finished 16th in 2013, but has earned three victories since becoming a full-time driver, a statistic that proves the youth movement is just getting started.
“It’s definitely very cool to be a part of the youth movement and to have young drivers like myself come up and be the next stars of NASCAR,” Nemechek, 19, said. “I’m really looking forward to going out this year and hopefully keep moving up the ranks and be in Cup one day.”