What’s Up With…John
Photo via JohnHunterNemechek.com
John Hunter Nemechek in car ready to race during SpeedFest 2015 in January.
For John Hunter Nemechek racing runs in the family, and through his veins.
Nemechek this year
has been running part time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for his
family team in NEMCO Motorsports. Nemechek has collected seven career top-ten
finishes in 17 starts, with a career best of fourth this year at Gateway
Zachary Lange: This year for you has featured limited starts in the Camping World Truck Series…can you begin to assess the team and its performance along with your own now with only a limited number of races to go off of?
John Hunter Nemechek: “I feel like our team is more prepared than last year, even though we don’t have the finishes to show for it. We’ve run very well each week. We’ve made great accomplishments each week making the trucks better whether it’s setup wise or aero wise.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
John Hunter Nemechek and father Joe Nemechek address the media during the 2015 NASCAR Media Day in February.
“And we’ve been working a lot harder and working some late nights. I feel like there is a little bit of room to improve on to make it even better, but from last year to this year we’re in contention to win more races. We just need a little luck on our side.”
ZL: Winning the Snowball Derby must have been huge for you? What did it feel like?
JHN: “It was unbelievable to win. The Snowball Derby is the dream your whole career when you race late models. I should’ve won a couple times now but to finally do it in the way we did it in dominating style was a great feeling.
“We worked so hard on that car before we got down there and thrashed the whole weekend, so to make that hard work pay off meant more than anything."
ZL: Would you say that would be the biggest accomplishment in your career? And if not what would be?
JHN: “I’d say the Snowball Derby and the All American 400 have definitely been the biggest accomplishments in my career so far. It just goes back to dominating races—like in the All American 400 we led 294 of 300 laps and ended up winning. And with the Snowball Derby and all the hard work that went into that. The celebration was great…it’s something every kid dreams about when they’re racing.”
ZL: Growing up in a family of racecar drivers must have affected the way you see things today. Did or do you ever feel pressure because of it? Or do you feel like growing up in this background has affected you?
JHN: “I wouldn’t say there is more pressure growing up with my last name, or being Joe Nemechek’s son. But I’m definitely here to make a name for myself. I feel like growing up with dad around the race track has made me better. And growing up around the race track with the guys around the race track has made me more mature.
“Seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly...knowing how to act…and how to talk to people whether it’s media, or sponsorship, whatever it may be. So growing up at the race track has changed the way I look at things if I haven’t been in racing my whole life.”
ZL: Have you ever used sim racing as a tool when going to new tracks that you don’t know? – Leighton from California
JHN: “I have a little bit but not a bunch. But some of the tracks I’ve never been to I use it just to see the place. Some of the sim racing tools are close, others not so much. But definitely I have used it in the past.”
ZL: Who is your biggest racing hero growing up? – Andrew from Ohio
JHN: “I’d have to say dad. Growing up around the sport watching him race…he was my biggest mentor. Getting to see him race and getting to see him win races, he was the biggest hero.”
ZL: During a race weekend, who do you like to compete against the most? – Spencer from North Carolina
Photo by Tim Bradbury/NASCAR via Getty Images
John Hunter Nemechek's truck is towed after an accident at Iowa Speedway in June.
JHN: “Anyone and everyone.”
ZL: Good answer.
JHN: “Yeah, there’s not really one competitor I like to compete against, everyone is a competitor on the race track.”
ZL: Anybody who you would say is the toughest to pass?
JHN: “Whoever has the fastest truck that week.”
ZL: Do you see you and your father running together in a race this year? If so, what race? – Robert
JHN: “I hope we run together, I know dad wants to. I couldn’t tell you what race it all depends on funding. But I think you will see us run together before the years end.”
ZL: Pepsi or Coke? – Franklin from Tennessee
JHM: “Have to go with Coke.”
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