John Hunter Nemechek came into Saturday’s 94 lap event at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway nine points below the cutoff line to advance to the Championship 4 with two races remaining in the Round of 8. After earning the pole in Friday’s qualifying session, Nemechek nearly maxed out his stage points by picking up the Stage One win and crossing the stripe in second at the end of Stage Two to earn 19 points.
Nemechek was lined up in 18th for the first and only NASCAR overtime attempt at the 2.66-mile track after electing to ride near the back of the field for the Final Stage in an effort to miss wrecks and maximize his finish. As the field came through the tri-oval for the final time, Nemechek went through the infield grass to avoid “The Big One” at the end of the race and ultimately spun through the grass in his Pye-Barker Tundra. Once he regained control of his Tundra and crossed the stripe, Nemechek was scored in 24th.
Stage One Recap:
- Nemechek started the Talladega 250 from the front row after earning his seventh pole award of the year during Friday afternoon’s two-round qualifying session, posting a time of 53.567 seconds at 178.767 mph in the second round.
- The second-generation driver elected the outside lane to start the race with his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Chandler Smith on the inside. As the field took the green flag, Nemechek ducked down in front of the No. 18 as they controlled the opening laps.
- Nemechek briefly lost the lead before regaining control of the draft on lap 5 and leading the next 18 laps.
- The first caution of the day came out on lap 20 for a single truck incident, ending Stage One under caution with Nemechek in the lead, earning an important 10 bonus points.
Stage Two Recap:
- Veteran crew chief Eric Phillips called for a fuel only stop at the stage break and sent the No. 4 Pye-Barker Tundra TRD Pro back out on track to restart in second.
- Nemechek and his KBM teammate Chandler Smith continued to work together throughout the second stage as third caution of the day came out on lap 34 with Nemechek scored in third.
- As the field went back green for a two-lap shootout to the green-white-checkered, Nemechek pushed the No. 18 of Smith out ahead of the field and held off a surge from the outside lane as they came through the tri-oval to take the green-and-white checkered in second, adding nine more stage points to his total.
Final Stage Recap:
- Nemechek restarted the final stage in 27th after electing to pit and restart near the back to avoid any wreck that might have occurred throughout the Final Stage.
- The 25-year-old driver continued to run in 26th before hitting pit road for two tires and fuel as green flag pit stops began to cycle through on lap 62.
- Shortly after completing their stop, the fifth caution of the day came out on lap 65 for a loose tire on the track with Nemechek scored in 11th.
- Nemechek was shuffled back to 19th before coming over the radio to say “I’m bailing out of this” as he elected to get out of his lane and fall back to 23rd with 17 laps to go.
- The seventh caution of the day came out on lap 80 for a five-truck incident with Nemechek scored in 19th. The No. 4 team was one of three teams that elected to pit under caution as the over-the-wall crew executed a four tire and fuel stop.
- The second-generation driver lined up for the ensuing restart in 25th and made his way up to 18th before a caution with just three laps left set up a green-white-checkered finish in NASCAR overtime.
- As the field was coming through the tri-oval on the final lap with “The Big One” beginning to happen in front of him, Nemechek ducked through the infield grass and found himself spinning out before the finish line. As he got his Pye-Barker Tundra going again to cross the stripe, Nemechek was scored in 24th.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
How was your race today?
“Up and down. Maximized stage points there with Chandler (Smith) in the first stage and in the second stage, put ourselves in a good position to gain as many points as possible. Just didn’t work out there at the end. Stuff happens and I was one of the trucks that was spinning through the grass there. Probably lost around 10 or 12 spots there by spinning through the grass. It hurt our points day a little bit and we’re now just five points behind the cut going into Homestead.”
Talladega 250 Race Recap:
- Matt DiBenedetto earned his first career Camping World Truck Series victory. Ben Rhodes, Bret Holmes, Ryan Preece, and Chistian Eckes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were nine cautions for 36 laps and 25 lead changes among 11 drivers, including Nemechek who led twice for 20 laps.
How Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finish 14th.
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 26th.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 team are on the outside looking in as they sit five points below the cutoff line to advance to the Championship 4 with one race remaining in the Round of 8.
John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Goodwrench team will have a two week break before the Camping World Truck Series playoffs resumes at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 22nd for the final race of the Round of 8. Live coverage of the Baptist Health 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM at 12pm ET.