John Hunter Nemechek ‘Feeling Good’ With Top-15 Finish in Martinsville Truck Race

John Hunter Nemechek, son of Joe Nemechek, was ‘feeling good’ after making his debut in the 2014 Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway this past weekend.

In fact the sixteen year old was feeling especially good after finishing eleventh behind the wheel of his No. 8 pelletgrillusa.com/SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Toyota in the Kroger 250

“It feels good to finish top-15 and run really, really close to the top-10,” the young up and coming driver said. “We ran top-12 most of the day.”

“There towards the end, I thought we were going to be good restarting on the inside that first green-white-checkered,” Nemechek continued. “The second green-white-checkered, the final one, we ended up starting on the outside and that was not the place to be because you couldn’t get down and you couldn’t pass anybody. The inside line would freight train you.”

“We battled hard for two laps and didn’t fall back too many positions and finished 11th,” Nemechek said. “Our pit crew was great all day. The guys made very good calls and adjustments. It was a great team effort.”

Although Nemechek was indeed feeling good, he also had an expectation that he wanted to meet and just came shy of achieving that goal.

“Our goal was to finish top-10 and we came really close to that,” Nemechek said. “You can’t really be disappointed in missing it by a spot.”

“To run up in the front with all of the guys that are veterans and have been in the Truck Series forever, it felt really good to run up there and be competitive.”

“I was overall happy with the day.”

Nemechek did not feel good, however, about having to wait out the rain delay, which postponed the race from Saturday to Sunday, immediately following the conclusion of the Sprint Cup race.

“The rain out was boring to tell you the truth,” Nemechek said. “There was nothing going on but just sitting around in the rain.”

“I got quite a few naps in and got well rested for the race,” Nemechek continued. “That’s always a plus.”

The rain delay did, however, allow the youngster some good learning opportunities as he watched the big league drivers race, particularly as to how they managed to pass on the short track.

“We had to come from 20th at the start of the race so watching how the Cup guys were passing and getting to the front was important,” Nemechek said. “It was all interesting just trying to learn.”

The young driver also observed changes in the track due to the Cup drivers laying down rubber throughout their 500 mile race.

“Normally we’re the first race on the track and we’re the ones putting rubber down so the track is freer,” Nemechek said. “With the Cup drivers running the track, it really didn’t take that much rubber so their being out there before us made the track a little bit tighter.”

“The rain made it really loose for them because it was a green race track,” Nemechek continued. “So, as they put rubber down, the race track kept getting tighter and slicker as well.”

Not only did the sixteen year old have to battle the track but he also had to battle other drivers. And at one point, the Martinsville Truck Series rookie actually became the meat in the middle of a sandwich until one of the other drivers lifted to drift up the track and out of the way.

“It was tight quarters for sure,” Nemechek said. “I didn’t know that we could run three-wide at Martinsville but we proved that we did.”

“That was definitely pretty cool to run like that,” Nemechek continued. “I just had to remain calm and do the best I could to stay in there and even gain positions being in that three-way battle.”

One of the biggest lessons that the young driver took away from the short track, however, was to understand with whom he was racing and to carefully balance respect and aggressiveness.

“We were around a couple different groups of trucks all day and then we sort of got in a rhythm. We got out on our own and was passing trucks in front of us,” Nemechek said. “We had a really good long run truck.”

“I didn’t really know who we were around most of the day,” Nemechek continued. “They’re all good to race with but there are a couple guys that you don’t like to race with because they’ll wreck you at any point. So, you just have to watch out for them.”

“I’m staying out of naming any names on that though.”

“I learned not to take anybody’s stuff,” Nemechek said. “So, like if they mess with you, you mess with them right back. You have to earn respect with all these veterans in the Series and you do that by running them clean and running them hard.”

“At the same time, if they rough you up, you rough them back up,” Nemechek continued. “So, it’s all about earning respect and that’s what we take on to the next race.”

The youngster also admitted that he did get a little bit of advice from Dad, especially when things got challenging during the green-white-checkered battles.

“Dad kept telling me ‘Good job and keep the tires on it and keep your nose clean so you can be there at the end’, Nemechek said. “That’s what we did and we were there at the end and we got in a good battle for the finish.”

“The green-white-checkered finish was a new deal for me this year in the Truck Series,” Nemechek said. “We’ve done it plenty of times in other Series so when we did it, my crew chief and dad came on to tell me to drive it like my late model, where we had quite a few green –white-checkers.”

“So, we did that and didn’t worry about anything else.”

Because of his age, John Hunter Nemechek’s next race will not be until the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware and his father instead will be behind the wheel. The young driver will, however, keep himself busy by racing Super Late Models at Asheville and Pensacola until he gets back into the Truck in a few more weeks.

Most of all, the second generation racer is feeling good about simply having the chance to go and not only follow in his father’s footsteps but also pursue his own dreams of being a successful race car driver.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” John Hunter Nemechek said. “I’ll be running ten Truck races this year and Dad will be running the other twelve that I can’t run because of my age.”

“It’s a father-son deal, which is the best.”

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

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