- John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Pye Barker Fire & Safety team head to Martinsville Superspeedway for the final race in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs 36 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway. With both race wins in the Round of 8 going to non-playoff drivers, all four spots in the championship will be decided in Saturday’s race. The 24-year-old driver has made 12 career Truck Series starts at “The Paperclip,” including his series debut as a 16-year-old in October of 2013. Nemechek was victorious in the spring Truck Series race in 2018 and overall has four top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 14.3. In two Cup Series starts he produced an average finish of 25.5.
- Nemechek rebounded from a disappointing 33rd-place finish when he experienced electrical issues at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in the opening race in the Round of 8 to finish fourth at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in race two. After running in the top 10 most of the day at Talladega, Nemechek took the lead momentarily on the final lap before getting turned through the tri-oval and crossing the finish line sliding sideways in the fourth position.
- Since the Truck Series was last in action at Talladega, Nemechek has made two starts in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Supra. He led a race-high 92 laps and overcame a pit road penalty with just over 50 laps remaining to pick up the second win of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career Oct. 16 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
- The second-generation driver has put together a remarkable season thus far in his first season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). In addition to leading the circuit in race wins (five) and stage wins (11), he leads the Truck Series in top fives (12), fastest laps run (284), driver rating (114.5), average running position (6.961) and average finish (8.5). Nemechek registered his fifth Truck Series win of 2021 June 26 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The talented wheelman has posted victories at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March, Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and in June at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
- The Toyota Racing driver is competing in the Camping World Truck Series playoffs for the third time in his career. He finished eighth in the championship standings for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, in 2016 and 2017. Nemechek is an 11-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.
- Eric Phillips returned 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. His 42 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 32 of those coming while at KBM. At Martinsville, Phillip’s drivers have collected one win, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.0 across 20 starts. He called the shots for Denny Hamlin’s first career Truck Series victory in October of 2011.
- As part of the second annual Honor a Cancer Hero Campaign which raised over $100,000 for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation, two organizations recognized as champions for the health and well-being of others, Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota will carry the name of Karen Morgan over the driver door on Saturday. Morgan, a long-time NASCAR fan, was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma in January of 2019 and succumbed to the disease in May of 2020. Karen’s husband posted the winning bid in an effort to help bring awareness and donate what he could to the terrible disease.
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver Q&A:
Do you remember what your favorite Halloween costume was as a kid? Do you have a costume picked out for Aspen’s first Halloween?
“I don’t know what my first or favorite Halloween costume was. I remember dressing up as a kid probably as a race car driver or something modeling after my dad. Aspen, we have a flamingo costume and working on a couple others. It might be a whole costume outfit change a few times on Halloween day.”
How will you approach Martinsville being 36 points above the cutoff line?
“Go try and run all the laps, maximize stage points, maximize our finish, not get caught up in a wreck and run our race. If we don’t beat ourselves and don’t have a mistake or a mechanical failure and don’t get taken out, I definitely think that we’ll be in a spot to advance. It’s definitely close with the 99 behind us, one point I think behind us, and then there is a couple others that are racing their way in and then quite a few that are in a must-win situation. I feel like it is definitely is going to be a heated battle, there is going to be a lot of intensity and it’s knowing who to race, how to race them and when to race them to not put yourself in a bad spot.”
You made your first-ever Truck Series start at Martinsville and have a win there as well, how special of a place is it for you?
“I’ve really liked going to Martinsville. I think anywhere that you’ve made your debut has a special place in your career and being able to go back to Martinsville – I finished second there too many times and given up a few races there that we should’ve won and finally brought home a grandfather clock in 2018 – it’s definitely a special race track for me. It’s been a lot of fun being able to go there and race a unique race track with concrete corners and asphalt straightaways. It’s a place I look forward going to every single year.
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
- Eleven-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 122 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled two poles, 1,179 laps led, 40 top-five and 65 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4.
- 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 55 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled two wins, one pole, 325 laps led, 14 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.8.
John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Tundra:
KBM-58: The No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety team will unload KBM-58 for Saturday’s race at Talladega. So far in 2021, KBM-058 has collected three wins (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway) with Nemechek behind the wheel. Overall, the chassis has collected four wins across 13 career starts. The other win came with Kyle Busch behind the wheel at Charlotte in 2019.
KBM-58 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers have collected eight wins, five poles, 985 laps led, 23 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.9 across 57 starts at Martinsville.
- Todd Gilliland picked up the organization’s most recent victory at the 0.526-mile oval in October of 2019. Kyle Busch (2017 & 2019). Denny Hamlin (2011 & 2012) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (2013 & 2014) have all collected two victories at the Virginia track while Noah Gragson (2017) has one win.
- KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (89) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Bristol Motor Speedway Chandler Smith became the 17th 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 16 career victories at KBM and was the number for both of the organization’s driver championships.