Despite being faced with adversity and sent to the rear of the field twice, John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 ROMCO team rebounded to score their first top-five of the 2022 campaign with a second-place finish at Circuit of the Americas.
Nemechek was scheduled to start Saturday’s 42-lap event in 11th before being sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments. It didn’t take long for the talented wheelman to make his way through the field in the first stage before electing to pit early before the stage break and forfeit stage points in exchange for track position later in the race.
During the middle stanza, Nemechek was spun out battling for the lead which forced him to bring his No. 4 Tundra TRD Pro down pit road for an unscheduled stop. During the stop, the No. 4 team was tagged for an uncontrolled tire penalty, forcing them to begin the final stage from the rear of the field.
After making his way through the field once again and taking advantage of mistakes by other drivers, Nemechek was able to wheel his ROMCO Tundra TRD Pro to a second-place finish, earning his first top-five of the season.
Stage One Recap:
· Nemechek was scheduled to start 11th in Saturday’s XPEL 225 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) but was forced to start at the rear of the field for changing a faulty oil pump belt.
· Despite starting in the rear, Nemechek quickly moved up the field as he was scored in 14th-place on the second lap.
· The second-generation driver made his way up to 11th before veteran crew chief Eric Phillips called for the No. 4 team to make a pit stop before the end of the stage.
· After getting four fresh tires and fuel, Nemechek went back out onto the track and finished the opening stanza scored in 20th.
Stage Two Recap:
- With multiple teams electing to pit at the end of Stage One, Nemechek restarted the second stage in ninth.
- As the field made the 133 ft. climb up the hill into Turn 1 on the restart, Nemechek made a three-wide move to the inside that would move him into the top-five.
- Nemechek made his way up to the front of the field and found himself in a three-way battle for second with the No. 7 of Alex Bowman and No. 75 of Parker Klingerman before being able to make a successful pass on Lap 18.
- On Lap 22, Nemechek took his first and only lead of the race before being spun out by the No. 38 of Zane Smith while battling for the lead.
- This would force the No. 4 team to bring the ROMCO Tundra TRD Pro down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop.
- During the pit stop, the No. 4 team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire that they would serve at the end of Stage Two after being scored in 28th at the stage break.
Final Stage Recap:
- Nemechek and the No. 4 team had their work cut out for them in the final stage as they would start at the rear of the field.
- With just 10-laps remaining in the race, Nemechek still found himself outside of the top-20 in 22nd.
- Just five laps later, the second-generation driver wheeled his ROMCO Tundra TRD Pro into the top-10 and was scored eighth.
- The seventh caution of the day came out on Lap 41, setting up the field for a green-white-checkered overtime finish with Nemechek in fifth.
- The field would make it just six turns in the first overtime before the eighth and final caution of the day came out for the No. 02 truck stuck in the gravel trap.
- Coming up to Turn 1 on the second overtime restart, the leaders found themselves tangled up in a three-wide battle which opened the door for Nemechek to move up to second place.
- Nemechek attempted to gain on race leader Zane Smith during the final turns of the race but was unable to catch him, bringing home a second-place finish and his first top-five of the season.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 ROMCO Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
Can you describe those closing laps and how good this run was for you?
“The season has been frustrating for sure. We never give up at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). We never give up as an organization. I didn’t have the fastest truck today. We struggled most of the day. I got spun by Zane (Smith). I’m a little ticked off there. That’s two weeks in a row that we’ve got screwed by the 38. On to next week. I’m going to run the Richmond Xfinity race. Thanks to ROMCO Equipment, Toyota, everyone at KBM, TRD for all they do for us. Hopefully, we can keep this ship righted the right way and take this and carry the momentum. It’s way better finishing second than 24th, 25th, 24th in the first three. Still got a lot to go, a lot to learn and a lot to build on, but a long season ahead.”
XPEL 225 Recap:
- Zane Smith picked up his second win of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch, Ben Rhodes, and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 8 cautions for 12 laps. There were 10 lead changes among six drivers, including Nemechek who led once for one lap.
How Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished third.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finish fifth.
Camping World Trucks Regular Season Driver Standings:
Nemechek remains in eighth place and 55-points behind the leader in the Camping World Truck Series standings after the first four races of the season.
Nemechek and the No. 4 team will resume action as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 7. Live coverage of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 8 p.m. ET.