Toyota Racing – John Hunter Nemechek
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Quotes
DAYTONA BEACH (February 17, 2021) – Kyle Busch Motorsports driver John Hunter Nemechek was made available to media via videoconference prior to the Daytona Road Course event today:
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 4 Mobil1 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
What is it like to be one of the veteran drivers at Kyle Busch Motorsports?
“It’s kind of crazy being called the experienced guy at only 23 years old. But I feel like the path through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has definitely broadened the spectrum of younger drivers coming up through. Being able to run, I think it’s nine or 10 races now a year when you’re 16 years old. It kind of makes that a stepping stone as you’ve seen Chandler Smith do that with Kyle Busch Motorsports over the last year or so and now running full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports alongside myself. It’s been fun. There’s definitely been a lot of questions that have been asked, but at the same time I feel like Kyle (Busch) has kind of mentioned it a few times about trying to bring in a Matt Crafton type of guy, so it’s nice to be kind of labeled as that in a sense. Hopefully, we can go out and win more races and more championships than Matt has. But still to this day still being able to ask Kyle questions and kind of lean on him. He has a lot of experience and that’s something that we all have to kind of look into and try and pick his brain about and it’s only something that can help myself and the younger drivers as well.”
Are you looking forward to running some Xfinity Series with Sam Hunt Racing?
“Being able to go and run a few Xfinity Series races this year with Sam Hunt is definitely going to be something that I’m looking forward to. Sam is probably one of the youngest owners in the garage and someone that has had a lot of passion and a lot of dedication to the sport. I feel like he is kind of running his team the same way that I was brought up – just limited number of people, grinding it out and very small team. It’s been amazing to see what he’s been able to do with his team in such a short period of time. I look forward to going and running a few races with him and just going and turning laps and trying to get more experience under my belt and hopefully we can put forth a full fledge effort to be able to go and try to win a race or two – more or less just go and try to perform the best that we can.”
What is your outlook for the Daytona Road Course race on Friday?
“I’m definitely looking forward to the road course this weekend. I feel like the biggest thing for us is we came out of Daytona with a solid points day, and we want to continue to do the same. It would be awesome to be able to go there and get a win and lock ourselves into the Playoffs in the Truck Series. Overall, we just want to run the best that we can every single week and just have a shot to contend for the win. I feel like my team and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports has been prepping for this for a while and them being able to run it last year and have some decent notes to go back on and look at from the drivers that were there last year. Hopefully we can kind of tune that to what we want in a truck. Overall, I feel like the experience from running the Cup race last year, it being so much longer, is definitely going to change part of the outlook on how we look at this race and how we can manage ourselves through stage one and stage two and the final stage of the race to put us in contention.”
How will competing in the Xfinity Series help your Truck Series effort?
“It definitely can’t hurt I don’t think. The more laps the better. The more laps that you’re turning, the more experience and the more time that you’re in the seat – it all helps.”
How many races will you be running with Sam Hunt Racing and do you have input on which tracks you will race at?
“I think the first two races definitely off the bat I believe are Dover and Richmond for us. I’m not sure what other races that we’re possibly looking at running, but I know that those two are the first ones on the list for us. I like short tracks. I like Dover. I like Richmond. I feel like that’s where Sam (Hunt) and his team can definitely excel and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in the No. 26 Supra.”
When were you introduced to Sam Hunt and when did you know this was a possibility?
“I feel like Sam (Hunt) and I have known about each other for a long time through mutual friends or whatever it may be. I know he was running back in the K&N East Series there for a while as I was coming up and we had talked about running races before and really nothing ever happened. I feel like we’ve known each other for a while, and I feel like this whole deal came about earlier this year when I made the swap back to Toyota with Kyle Busch Motorsports. It’s something that I feel like has been on our radar and been on Sam’s radar. We want to help each other the best that we can. He wants to provide a great car that can go and win races and I want to give him the best feedback that I know how to try and help him grow his team to where he wants it to be. I feel like it’s going to be a mutual effort and a mutual sense where we can both help each other a lot.”
Did this opportunity come about organically, or did you know you wanted to race in the Xfinity Series as well?
“It kind of came about organically. I as a driver want to race everything that I possibly can whether it’s sports cars, NASCAR, whatever it may be. I’m all for driving whatever I can and racing whatever I can. The more laps and the more that you’re in contention to win races the better and you’re always learning. Every time that you’re turning laps you’re always learning and putting knowledge and information into your notebook. Something you can hold onto and put into your bank for a long time.”
Do you feel like Kyle Busch Motorsports can go out and take the early season by storm?
“I definitely hope so. I feel like the team that I have around me from Kyle (Busch), all of the Toyota staff to Eric Phillips, my crew chief, to Jimmy (Villeneuve), my car chief to everyone on my team who is putting in effort, building trucks and everyone back at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I feel like they are giving us the equipment that we need to be able to go out and be in contention to win races every single week. Honestly, I hope that I would be able to go and win every single week, but also that’s not reality. We want to do everything that we can and everything in our power to be able to go and just show up and contend. I definitely feel like everyone involved is going to be able to do that and I feel like our team is very strong and very capable of doing that as well.”
Has it been refreshing in a sense to not have to be at the shop working on the Trucks every week just to get to the race track?
“I definitely still like turning wrenches and working on things. I definitely feel like that’s a part of my blood and a part of my life and something that I love to do. But it is nice being able to focus on studying and everything you need to do as a driver to try and maintain your maximum performance and optimize your opportunity every single weekend that you’re at the race track.”
What are some of Sam Hunt’s expectations for your performance?
“I definitely feel like Sam (Hunt) is pushing his team in the right direction. I feel like Toyota is definitely helping Sam as well, trying to help him grow his program. It’s nice to be able to see a young owner like Sam kind of start a Xfinity team from owning a NASCAR K&N East team back in the day and being able to kind of come up through. It’s nice being able to have a young owner, I feel like that’s definitely what this sport needs at this time. I feel like that’s going to be the next wave of owners in our sport as well. Hopefully, we can have some really strong runs and we can help each other and just have the best performance that we can week in and week out.”
What are some of the differences between owners Kyle Busch and Sam Hunt?
“I feel like it’s two different spectrums there. I feel like Kyle’s (Busch) organization is definitely established at Kyle Busch Motorsports. They’ve proven time and time again that they have winning drivers and they’ve produced champions that are now in the Cup Series. I feel like with Sam’s (Hunt) program, he wants to get there, he wants to be established, he wants to be able to give back to the racing world and have drivers that are capable of winning races and championships and grow his organization into that. It’s in the very early stages for Sam and it’s been amazing to see what he’s been able to accomplish with who he’s had behind the wheel so far I guess in the last year – not even a year.”
What was your reaction to your former teammate Michael McDowell winning the Daytona 500?
“I stayed up for the race. It was definitely really, really neat to be able to see Michael (McDowell) go out there and win the Daytona 500. Congrats to Front Row Motorsports and everyone involved. I know how much work went into all their cars last year and Michael was right about every quote that he had said. He kept grinding it out. He’s been one of those guys that has been in this sport for a long time. I think one of his quotes was, ‘It’s hard knowing that you could be in the way every single week, but when the opportunity comes you have to capitalize on it,’ and Michael was able to do that. He’s definitely a student of the sport and works really hard for everything that he’s been able to have and definitely his relationship with God is up there as well. It’s amazing to see what he was able to do with that team this past weekend. Even last year we knew that superspeedways were our shot to be able to go out and try to win races. Huge congrats to Michael. I’m happy for him and happy for everyone at Front Row Motorsports who was involved in that team and organization.”
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