John Hunter Nemechek Ready to Step into His Own Spotlight

While many know and love his famous father Joe, John Hunter Nemechek is now ready to step out into his own spotlight as he makes his debut in the Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Martinsville.

Nemechek will be behind the wheel of the No. 22 race truck for SWM-NEMCO Racing, a new race team owned by Sid Mauldin in partnership with Joe Nemechek and company.

Nemechek’s truck will also debut some of the young racer’s sponsor partners who have supported him throughout his career, including SWM International, Wood Pellet Grills and D.A.B. Constructors.

And while this Truck debut is a dream come true for the sixteen year old racer, it is also a dream come true for family friend and new team owner Sid Maudlin.

“We are excited to be working with Joe Nemechek and have our first truck driven by John Hunter,” Mauldin said. “John Hunter is making a name for himself and we are so proud to be a founding partner as he keeps moving up to the next level.”

“One of our good friend’s dreams has been to be a car owner, whether it be Nationwide, Trucks or Cup,” Nemechek said. “I was lucky enough that he has given me the opportunity to drive for him.”

“It’s been a blessing.”

The young racer also feels blessed to be making his Truck start at Martinsville, a track where he has most certainly been many times with his father. And although he is familiar with the track from that point of view, he also got the opportunity to go and test a few weeks ago in preparation for his foray into the Truck Series.

“It was fun,” Nemechek said. “But it’s different too.”

“It’s a short track so I was just trying to get used to the truck and what it likes,” Nemechek continued. “The truck is a lot heavier than a late model, it has more horse power than a late model, and the tire compound is different.”

“You can slide around in a late model where the truck you can’t,” Nemechek said. “It’s all about being smooth and it’s trying to build a notebook and get experience and all that type of good stuff.”

Although the truck is new to the young driver, Nemechek knows that he has a wealth of experience to draw from while at the race track from his crew chief, team and Dad to his already impressive racing resume.

“Everyone that works in our shop, from my crew chief to my Dad and team, we all have good communication with each other,” Nemechek said. “We talk and joke around but when we need to get serious, we understand each other.”

“I started racing when I was four in quarter midgets and mini-sprints and ran that for a few years,” Nemechek continued. “And then actually I jumped out of cars and raced dirt bikes for a while.”

“I raced motorcross and did very well but decided that I didn’t want to get hurt anymore so I got in the Allison legacy car and my first year we ran seven races and my first full season was 2011, where we won two races, two poles and won Rookie of the Year, with second in points,” Nemechek said. “In 2012, I ran the Allison legacy car for a full season and we won 13 out of 18 poles, 15 out of 18 races and won the championship.”

“While doing that, we ran a little bit of super late model stuff and won the pole at Milwaukee, which was one of the biggest races of the year,” Nemechek continued. “We went down to the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, qualified second to David Ragan, and led until we got caught up in an accident and finished tenth.”

“But we definitely had a car to beat down there.”

“This year we’ve been running super late models and I ran a couple K&N races,” Nemechek said. “We haven’t won a race yet, which is kind of frustrating but we did win a pole this year and the championship too.”

“I’m trying to keep that championship streak alive.”

So, what does the young racer hope to accomplish in his Truck debut at the short track in Martinsville?

“My number one goal is to make the race and be in the race because we have to qualify our way into the race,” Nemechek said. “We should make the race and when we do, my goal is to run all the laps and get as much experience as I can.”

“Hopefully, while doing that we will finish in the top fifteen but I’ll just try to keep learning.”

Not only does Nemechek have to learn on the race track, but he also has responsibilities at school, especially since he is just a junior in high school. And that off-track learning experience is one that he takes seriously for many reasons, especially since it has the potential to impact his on-track performance.

“I go to a private school so it makes it a little bit easier but it’s definitely a challenge to balance racing and school work,” Nemechek said. “My academics come first.”

“One of the deals I have with my parents and sponsors is that if I don’t make ‘A’s and ‘B’s, then all the money stops coming and all the racing stops until the grade gets back up,” Nemechek continued. “My parents are tough on me and it’s definitely hard but my school works with me and my schedule and I have to work with them to get assignments in before I go.”

“You have to complete the work and it definitely is a challenge.”

While the teen experiences the challenges of racing, school work and tackling a short track this weekend, he is most grateful to everyone, from his family to his growing fan base, who supports him as he works to achieve his racing dreams.

“Having my Dad there, I like it,” Nemechek said. “We communicate with each other well and we work with each other well.”

“That’s one of the good things about being close to your Dad,” Nemechek continued. “He lets me learn on my own instead of him telling me what to do.”

“I listen to him and he listens to me and it’s all about communication,” Nemechek said. “If he sees something I’m doing wrong, he will tell me.”

“I’ll adjust and we just bounce ideas off each other.”

“I’m also grateful to my fans and I want them to know that I appreciate everyone who supports me and believes in me,” Nemechek said. “My motto is to never give up and I want them to know that I’ll race as hard as I can and do the best that I can with what I have.”

“Their support means a lot to me too.”

Whatever happens at Martinsville in his Truck debut, Nemechek acknowledged that he does indeed have that same fire in his belly for racing as his father and hopes that someday he can achieve that same success, as well as following in the footsteps of some of his other racing idols, like Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart.

“Yes, I do love racing,” Nemechek said. “It’s in my blood.”

“I know that my Dad wants me to do it but at the same time, I think he wishes he would have got me a set of golf clubs instead of a race car when I was young,” Nemechek continued with a laugh.” But I love to do this and pretty much this is what I want to do in my future.”

So, what will the young racer be thinking when he gets behind the wheel of his truck and cinches his belts tight for his first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race?

“There’s going to be nerves, especially when it is your first time,” Nemechek said. “But I’m also going to be excited at the same time.”

“It all balances out when you strap into it, you forget all about the nerves and the excitement,” Nemechek continued. “You’re just focused on the race.”

“I’ll smile and then I’ll be having a good day.”

For more information about John Hunter Nemechek, visit his website at

or follow him on Twitter @JohnNemechek.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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  1. Wishing you all the best this weekend at Martiansville. We have had the privilege of meeting with your dad, Joe and your family when we visit Mooresville each spring. Hopefully. We will be able to
    Meet you.y
    Ida and Angie

  2. With the landrush of teenagers trying to be Truck or Stock Car Stars, would that impact the Superspeedway races going forward next year?


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