John Hunter Nemechek earned his fifth Cometic Gasket Pole award of the season for Friday’s playoff opener at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Nemechek took control of the lead at the drop of the green flag and led all 60 laps of the opening stage in route to a Stage One win, earning 10 stage points and an additional playoff point.
Nemechek continued his run inside of the top-five throughout the second stage before getting loose underneath the lapped truck of Kris Wright, sending him spinning late in the stage. The second-generation was able to rebound and was in contention for the win as he lined up in first for NASCAR overtime. When the field took the white flag for the overtime restart, Nemechek was shoved into the outside wall on the exit of Turn 2 by the No. 38 of Zane Smith and fell back to 10th where he took the checkered flag.
Nemechek and the No. 4 team are now in a tie for fifth in the Truck Series playoff grid and sit 24 tallies above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8.
Stage One Recap:
- Nemechek earned the pole for Friday’s TSport 200 after laying down a lap time of 22.211 seconds at 111.188 mph in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.
- Nemechek elected the inside lane to start the race and took command of the lead as the field entered Turn 1.
- Throughout the opening stage, the second-generation driver had his KBM teammate Chandler Smith in his rearview mirror, holding a lead of just under a second for the first 40 laps of the race.
- Over the course of the final 20 laps of the opening stanza, Nemechek extended his lead to a second-and-a-half, driving away to the Stage One win, picking up 10 stage points and an additional playoff point.
- At the stage break, Nemechek communicated that his Yahoo! Tundra was “a little free on the right rear”.
Stage Two Recap:
- Nemechek brought his Yahoo! Tundra down pit road at the stage break where the No. 4 team executed a four tire and fuel stop before lining up for the Stage Two restart in third.
- As the second stage went on, Nemechek continued to run within the top-five as the leaders started to navigate their way through lapped traffic.
- Nemechek and Chandler Smith were running side-by-side for third as they approached the No. 44 of Kris Wright, Nemechek dove to the inside of the No. 44 as Smith went outside. Nemechek’s Yahoo! Tundra got loose underneath of Wright, sending him spinning and bringing out the fifth caution of the night.
- The second-generation brought his No. 4 Tundra down pit road following the spin for four fresh Goodyear tires and went back out for the ensuing restart scored in 20th.
- With differing pit strategies throughout the field, the fresh tires paid off for the No. 4 team as Nemechek gained nine spots over the last six laps of the stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag in 11th.
Final Stage Recap:
- As pit stops cycled through at the stage break, Nemechek lined up to restart the final stage in eighth.
- The 25-year-old driver quickly made his way back into the top-five and was scored in third when the ninth caution of the night came out on lap 192.
- The first two drivers elected to bring their trucks down pit road under caution while veteran crew chief Eric Phillips called to keep the No. 4 Yahoo! out on the track, taking over the lead for the ensuing restart with two to go.
- On the restart, Nemechek and the No. 17 of Taylor Gray were battling for the lead as the field entered Turn 3. Nemechek got to the bumper of Gray as the No. 17 went spinning, bringing out the 10th and final caution of the night.
- Nemechek again lined up on the outside of the front row as the control truck for NASCAR overtime. As the field took the white flag on the restart, Zane Smith drove Nemechek up the track as they were exiting Turn 2, putting the No. 4 Yahoo! Tundra into the outside wall, and dropping Nemechek back through the field.
- Once Nemechek was able to regroup his Yahoo! Tundra, he was scored in 10th as he came across the stripe to take the checkered flag.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Yahoo! Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
What were those conversations you were having with the 17 (Taylor Gray) team?
“Those were private, but it is what it is. I had a really fast Yahoo Toyota Tundra TRD Pro tonight. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. We were the bug tonight. I made a mistake early on and spun myself. Then, we had a restart there at the end on older tires -everyone had fresher tires – I tried driving down the bottom of (turn) three underneath the 17 (Taylor Gray) and it just kept sliding. I accidently got into his left rear – tried to stay off of him. That team has their opinion, I have my opinion. I’m sure we will talk at some point. The final restart I had a really good jump. I thought we were going to have a shot there and then we got run in the fence by the 38 (Zane Smith). That’s a couple of times that he has ran me in the fence. I’m taking notes. Solid points day for us. I don’t know where that puts us above the cut line, but we’ve got some really good tracks coming up for us. Proud of everyone at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). Thank you to Yahoo, Toyota, TRD, everyone that gives me this opportunity. Let’s go win a championship.”
TSport 200 Race Recap:
- Enfinger earned his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of 2022 and will advance to the Round of 8. It was his seventh career victory. Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, Stewart Friesen and Corey Heim rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 10 cautions for 78 laps and 12 lead changes among six drivers, including Nemechek who led a race-high 75 laps.
How Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fifth.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finish 18th.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
After the first race in the Round of 10, Nemechek and the No. 4 team find themselves in a tie for fifth with KBM teammate Chandler Smith in the Camping World Truck series playoff grid. They currently sit 24 tallies above the cutoff line to advance to the Round of 8.
The No. 4 Safeway team turns their focus to Richmond (Va.) Raceway when Camping World Truck Series action returns on Saturday, August 13. Live coverage of the Worldwide Express 250 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM at 8pm ET.