John Hunter Nemechek: Driver, No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview:
Event: LiftKits4Less.com 200, Race 8 of 22, 147 laps – 45/45/57; 200.8 miles
Location: Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. (1.366-mile egg-shaped oval)
Date/Broadcast: May 7, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Neme’chek’ The Facts:
- John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Pye-Barker team roll into Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after scoring a fifth-place finish at Kansas Speedway last week. After seven races, Nemechek continues to sit at the top of the Camping World Trucks championship standings, 33 tallies ahead of Ben Rhodes. In addition to his lead in the point standings, Nemechek tops Truck Series regulars this season in average finish (3.3), laps led (273), driver rating (118.9), average running position (5.5) and fastest laps (144).
- Nemechek will be making his first career start at Darlington in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition. In 2020, Nemechek made three NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington with a best finish of ninth coming in NASCAR’s return to racing in May following a 10-week shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, Nemechek made his sole NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the 1.366-mile facility and finished 21st.
- KBM enters Friday’s event having won the last five Camping World Truck Series races. Nemechek started the streak at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March and at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April. Busch was victorious at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway and captured KBM’s most recent victory at Kansas Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. captured his first Truck Series victory at the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Dirt Track. It’s the first time in the organization’s history that they’ve collected five straight victories.
- This weekend kicks off the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply in the Camping World Truck Series. This year’s program will consist of the events at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and concludes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. An extra $50,000 is on the line for each of those events. If a driver can win all three races, they will get a $500,000 bonus.
- Nemechek is an eight-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, and returning to victory lane this year with KBM. Across 109 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, the second-generation driver has compiled two poles, 882 laps led, 33 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.9. The North Carolina native qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017. He was voted the series most popular driver in 2015.
- The 23-year-old driver produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.
- Eric Phillips returns to KBM to lead the No. 4 team this season. Phillips led the No. 18 team at KBM in its debut season in 2010 and helped build the organization into one of the premier teams in all of NASCAR before departing at the end of the 2014 season. Under his guidance, the No. 18 team won eight races in its inaugural campaign and became the first team in Truck Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the No. 51 team to an owner’s championship and his team’s 10 wins spearheaded KBM to a single-season Truck Series record of 14 wins. His 39 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 29 of those coming while at KBM. At Darlington, Phillips has three starts with one win coming in 2011 when Kasey Kahne led a race-high 95 laps driving KBM’s No. 18 Tundra.
- Pye-Barker Fire & Safety, an industry leader in commercial fire protection since 1946, will adorn the hood of Nemechek’s Tundra this weekend at Darlington, at Talladega (Ala) Superspeedway (Oct. 2), and for the season finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway (Nov. 5). Pye-Barker recently acquired Nemechek’s long-time supporter Fire Alarm Services.
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver Q&A:
What does it mean to have Pye-Barker on board this weekend at Darlington?
“It’s very neat to have Fire Alarm Service and Pye-Barker on board this week. It’s a new company that Fire Alarm Services is a part of now. It’s their first race with us, so they are going to have quite a few guests in the grandstands which will be really neat. Hopefully, we can go out and get them their first win in their first start.”
What are your expectations going into Darlington?
“The last racetrack I’d been to that wasn’t in a truck ended up pretty well at Richmond. Hopefully we have the same outcome here at Darlington. It’s one of my better racetracks. It was one of my best runs last year in the Cup series right after the return from the COVID pandemic. I’m looking forward to this weekend. It’s too tough to tame for sure. There are a lot of characteristics with the racetrack. I don’t know how the lines will vary from the Cup car to the truck, but it is something that we will have to figure out. We’re coming off some momentum still after a fifth-place run last weekend and a pretty solid truck. I’m proud of everyone at KBM and look forward to getting going.”
Your crew chief Eric Phillips took a gamble last week at Kansas. As a driver, how does it feel knowing you have a couple of wins under your belt so that you can gamble throughout a race?
“It feels good knowing that we have a couple of wins under our belt and some playoff points. We didn’t feel like we had a truck capable of winning from where we were at during the second-to-last caution. Being able to take a gamble and come down pit road, I have all the faith in Eric and his call to come down and get a little bit of an advantage. It almost worked out. There was a little chaos there at the end. Overall, it was a solid day and solid performance. I’m still gaining on the points lead, so that’s a positive.”
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
- Eight-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports. Across 109 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled two poles, 882 laps led, 33 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.9.
- Qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017.
- Produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.
- Across 51 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled one win (Kansas Speedway, 10/20/18), one pole, 225 laps led, 12 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.6.
- John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Pye-Barker Tundra:
- KBM-053: The No. 4 Pye-Barker team will unload KBM-053 Friday in Darlington. The chassis was previously run at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway earlier this year, where Nemechek piloted the chassis to a third-place finish. The chassis has been run seven times with an average finish of 5.4.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected one win, 95 laps led, two top-five and three top 10 finishes across five starts at Darlington. Kasey Kahne collected the organization’s sole win at the 1.366-mile facility.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (85) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Martin Truex Jr. became the 16th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
- The No. 4 has 13 career victories at KBM and was the number for both of the organization’s driver championships.