Having already locked himself into the playoffs with a win earlier this season at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, John Hunter Nemechek came into the regular season finale at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway looking for a strong run and to build momentum for the playoffs. After starting in 12th per NASCAR’s performance matrix system, the second-generation driver earned 11 stage points in route to a third-place finish at ‘The Tricky Triangle’.
When the Truck Series playoffs start next week at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Nemechek will be the fourth seed and 14 points above the cutoff line to advance to the Round of 8.
Stage One Recap:
- Nemechek lined up in the 12th position for Saturday’s CRC Brakleen 150 per NASCAR’s performance matrix system after Friday’s qualifying session was rained out.
- Before the caution came out on the first lap for a single truck incident, Nemechek had already gained six spots on the initial start of the race and was scored in sixth.
- When the third caution of the race came out on lap 13, the second-generation driver communicated to the No. 4 team that he “doesn’t need much. Maybe a little bit of security on entry”.
- That caution would take the field to the end of the opening stage with Nemechek scored in seventh, earning four stage points.
Stage Two Recap:
- With differing pit strategies throughout the field, veteran crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver down pit road for a four tire and fuel stop at the stage break.
- After electing to pit, Nemechek lined up for the Stage Two restart scored in 14th.
- Just five laps into the middle stanza, Nemechek wheeled his Yahoo! Tundra back into the top-10 and was scored in ninth.
- As the laps wound down in Stage Two, the second-generation driver was running in eighth when the leaders started to hit pit road before the end of Stage Two.
- The decision to stay out earned the No. 4 team an additional seven stage points as Nemechek took the green-and-white checkered flag in fourth.
Final Stage Recap:
- Before heading back down pit road at the stage break, Nemechek radioed that his No. 4 Tundra was “getting tighter as the run went on” during the second stage.
- After a four tire and fuel stop with a wedge adjustment, the No. 4 team lined up for the Final Stage in 11th.
- The fifth and final caution of the race came out on lap 43, lining up Nemechek on the inside of the third row for the ensuing restart behind his KBM teammates Chandler Smith and Corey Heim in first and third.
- Nemechek was able to hold onto his spot in fifth for the next 10 laps before passing the No. 42 of Carson Hocevar for fourth with four to go.
- The Yahoo! driver caught the No. 51 of Heim just two laps later and took over the third position with two laps remaining and his sights set on the leaders.
- Nemechek was unable to gain ground over the last two laps and took the checkered flag in third, earning his seventh top-five finish of the season.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Yahoo! Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
How tough was the battle in the closing laps with your teammate Corey Heim and what did you tell him post-race?
“Just talked about our race and what went on with his truck and my truck and things like that. Overall, a solid day for our Yahoo Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Thank you to Yahoo, thank you to Toyota, TRD, Kyle (Busch, team owner) and everybody at KBM. All my crew guys put a lot of work into it. We tried and we gave it a shot. Just didn’t have track position all day and it ended up hurting us at the end. Overall, solid third place after driving back through the field and there weren’t many who could do that so proud of the guys, proud of the truck and it’s time to peak and go win a championship.”
CRC Brakleen 150 Race Recap:
- Chandler Smith earned his fourth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win. Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Corey Heim, and Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were five cautions for 20 laps and five lead changes among three drivers.
How Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finish first.
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fourth.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
Nemechek and the No. 4 team finished the regular season third in the Camping World Truck Series standings and will start the playoffs in the fourth seed. With the points reset, Nemechek will open the playoffs 14 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8.
The No. 4 Yahoo! team will head to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park as the Camping World Truck Series opens the playoffs on July 29. Live coverage of the TSport 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM at 9pm ET.