Date: Feb. 12, 2021
Event: NextEra Energy 250 (Race 1 of 22)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 20 laps/20 laps/61 laps
Start/Finish: 7th/7th (Running, completed 101 of 101 laps)
Winner: Ben Rhodes of Thorsport Racing (Toyota)
Despite being involved in a late-race incident in the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek was able to bring the Fire Alarm Services Tundra home in the seventh position. Nemechek was able to lead 14 laps in his Kyle Busch Motorsports debut (KBM), score 17 stage points and earn one playoff point via his win in Stage Two.
Stage One Recap:
- Nemechek started in the seventh position after laying down a speed of 179.344 mph in a qualifying session held Friday afternoon.
- After one caution in the opening stanza, Nemechek was able to work his Fire Alarm Services Tundra up to the fourth position to score seven stage points to kick off the 2021 campaign.
Stage Two Recap:
- At the stage break, Nemechek radioed to his No. 4 crew that his Tundra was tight in traffic. Veteran crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road for a fuel-only stop. Nemechek would start the second stage from the second position.
- On Lap 27, Nemechek was able to get the race lead. He would lose the lead for one lap before garnering it back for the next 10 laps. On Lap 36, the third caution of the night flew as Nemechek was leading. With the stage break approaching, Nemechek radioed to his Fire Alarm Services crew that he was tight throughout the corner. Phillips elected to keep Nemechek out on the racetrack for a two-lap dash to the stage end.
- Nemechek would hold off the field to score the stage victory garnering 10 championship points and one playoff point.
Final Stage Recap:
- Under the break, Phillips summoned his driver to pit road for tires, fuel and adjustments for the final stage. Nemechek would restart 15th.
- When the fifth caution of the night flew on Lap 51, Nemechek was running in the 18th position. Phillips summoned his driver down pit road for a full load of fuel with the Fire Alarm Services Tundra returning to pit road with one lap remaining before green to top off with fuel. He would restart in the 25th position.
- At the sixth caution on Lap 62, Nemechek worked his way up to 20th. During the caution, Nemechek radioed to his crew that he may have slid his tires trying to avoid the incident. Phillips summoned his driver to pit road for fresh tires and fuel. Nemechek would restart in the 11th position.
- At the Lap 66 caution, Nemechek worked his way up to 15th and was told to stay out and to begin conserving fuel. He would restart 13th.
- At the eighth caution on Lap 73, Nemechek radioed to his crew that he may have some damage to the nose of his Fire Alarm Services Tundra after making contact with the bumper of the No. 88 Tundra. After assessment, Nemechek stayed out and would restart in the 10th position.
- While running in the middle of the lead draft on Lap 96, calamity ensued off Turn 2. Nemechek running on the outside line was pinched and made contact with the outside SAFER barrier. Nemechek brought his Tundra to pit road for the Fire Alarm Services crew to assess and repair the damage. Nemechek would restart in the 20th position.
- When the checkered flag flew on Lap 101, Nemechek was scored in the seventh position.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Fire Alarm Services Tundra for KBM
Solid start to your season, John Hunter. How was your race as a whole?
“I felt like our race was okay – or decent at least. I feel like we had a really fast Fire Alarm Services Toyota Tundra. We made gains through the weekend. I felt like we were pretty good right off of the truck. Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and all of the guys at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) gave us a really good truck that we could contend with. I felt good about our chances overall tonight. We stayed up there in Stage One and ended up winning Stage Two. In stage three, we did a strategy call. We took tires and it put us behind a little bit and never could get back to the front. I felt like we got trapped back there. We were making our way back up there towards the end and then we ended up getting caught up in the second-to-last wreck. It kind of sandwiched the truck, and I got tagged in the left rear and spun out. We had tires go down and damage. We started in the back on the final restart on the green-white-checkered. I was able to somehow get a pretty good suck going down the back and made it to the bottom lane in (turns) three and four. I got down and they all started wrecking almost to the tri-oval. They wrecked a bunch of them, somehow, we managed to make it through that without getting in the grass and wrecking and came home seventh. Overall, really solid points day. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year, and this is just a start of what we can do.”
NextEra Energy 250 Recap:
- Ben Rhodes scored his fourth career victory Friday at Daytona beating Jordan Anderson to the line by 0.063 seconds. Cory Roper, Ryan Truex and Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-five.
- There were 31 lead changes among 12 different drivers with Nemechek leading three times for 14 laps. There were 10 cautions for 43 laps.
How Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished ninth.
- Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 10th.
Camping World Trucks Championship Standings:
After one race, Nemechek and the No. 4 team sit third in the driver point standings just three points behind Ben Rhodes.
Nemechek will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET.