John Hunter Nemechek Embracing the Speedway Learning Curveby Kyle Pokrefky September 1, 2015 0 comments
Having turned 18 on June 11th, John Hunter Nemechek is finding himself facing new, unique challenges at each track he finds himself competing in in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Now eligible to run on ovals greater than a mile-and-a-quarter in length, the son of four-time Sprint Cup race winner Joe Nemechek has taken laps around new tracks for himself such as Kentucky Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway thus far this year.
Already an accomplished short track racer, the younger Nemechek is finding the move to running intermediate tracks and superspeedways as a complete learning experience.
“Running the intermediate tracks and super speedways has definitely been an adjustment,” Nemechek said. “It’s certainly been a learning experience, that’s for sure.
“Talking about different aero stuff and trying to figure out the air of these trucks and trying to figure out how to draft and all the other stuff that comes into play with these intermediate tracks is definitely something that we look forward to.”
Nemechek, the defending winner of the both the All-American 400 and Snowball Derby, likens the learning curve of learning how to race on these newer tracks to a game.
“The similarities between the short tracks and large tracks is that you’re all racing as hard as you can,” said Nemechek. “You’re always trying to figure out speed, you’re always trying to get back on the gas as soon as you can…
“It’s a whole different experience I should say of trying to draft off people and trying to pass. Trying to figure out where you get loose and where you get tight, it’s all a game that you have to figure out.”
The Mooresville, N.C. native also just recently completed his first full running of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, coming home with a ninth-place finish after facing his share of adversity.
Although he was allowed to compete at Canadian Tire last year, he was unable to get a full crack at the track after falling out of last year’s running after 26 of 64 laps.
“I feel like our race went very well,” the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado said. “We ran fast all day and we were in the top-10 all day. We got up into the top-five there at the end.
“If it wouldn’t have been for a little mishap with a spotter on one of the trucks, I think we would have been pretty good. There was a whole deal there where you try to drive inside someone and they drop down on you and we ended up cutting a left front tire. Cutting a tire stunk for us and we regained spots after that until they brought out a full course yellow about two laps after that when we came in under green and I jumped back up to ninth.
“To overcome all of that adversity that we had and finish with a top-10 was definitely a great day.”
When it comes to tackling these new tracks, Nemechek, now a NASCAR Next member, has received plenty of advice from more experienced drivers on the circuit.
Alongside of his father, Nemechek has also received tips and pointers from Sprint Cup drivers such as Ryan Newman (who made a lone start in the No. 8 Chevrolet at Kansas in May) and Austin Dillon on how to best handle the larger circuits.
“Ryan Newman actually drove our truck earlier in the year – he’s been a great help just asking him different questions every weekend before we go to a new race track,” Nemechek stated. “Austin and Ty Dillon as well. I’m just trying to go to most of these Cup drivers and XFINITY drivers that have driven these trucks at some of these different race tracks and have won there.”
With the experience he’s amassing, Nemechek has his sights set on continuing on in his NASCAR national series career; however, with the state of the sponsorship world being what it is in 2015, he’s not quite certain as if he’ll be making a return next year just yet.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “We have to see what funding brings. Hopefully we can do that, but it’s all about the funding.”
Nemechek will next be in action in the Truck Series in the American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, September 18th.
Photo Credit: NEMCO Motorsports PR