John Hunter Nemechek maneuvered his way through various melees, holding off competitors in a two-lap dash to the checkered flag to win the Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at the Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 27. Nemechek started from the 18th position and led for eight laps en route to his first victory in his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was also his 10th top-five finish in 32 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
On Saturday morning Nemechek, driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado for NEMCO Motorsports, qualified 18th with a time of 31.371 seconds at 176.724 mph. From the green flag Nemechek began to combat a loose-handling Chevrolet Silverado. Crew chief Gere Kennon ordered adjustments on every pit stop, ranging from air pressure to wedge to track bar and a combination of all three adjustments, and was able to dial-in the handling to Nemechek’s preference. By Lap 20, the Mooresville, N.C., native was scored in the 21st position. Taking advantage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first ‘caution clock’ under yellow flag conditions on Lap 39, Nemechek came to pit road for four tires with an air pressure adjustment, fuel, wedge and track bar adjustments. The 18-year-old then began his steady climb through the field after gaining five positions on pit road due to quick service by the crew. Despite the uncomfortable handling of the No. 8 Chevrolet, Nemechek was able to maintain position. Nemechek worked his way into the top 10 by Lap 54. While in the 10th position, Nemechek brought his No. 8 Chevrolet to pit road for a scheduled service of four tires with an air pressure adjustment, fuel and a wedge adjustment on Lap 60. He was able to restart in the sixth place. Nemechek held position until the 20-minute caution clock forced another yellow flag with 24 laps remaining. Under the command of Kennon on Lap 107, Nemechek pitted for four tires with an air pressure adjustment, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Nemechek then claimed the second spot after gaining four positions on pit road. Two corners after a restart on Lap 112, a multi-truck incident unfolded resulting in a red flag on Lap 113. Nemechek then took the restart from the third position. A few laps later, the leader was involved in an incident to bring out the caution, again, at the 1.54-mile track. Nemechek chose the inside line for a restart on Lap 199 of 200. On a late-race restart with two laps to go, the 18-year-old came through the tri-oval to win the Great Clips 200, his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory, becoming the youngest NASCAR national series winner at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. With his win in Saturday’s 200.2-mile event, Nemechek claims NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase eligibility with a victory during the regular season.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take more than a month off, returning on Saturday, April 2 for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.
Start - 18 Finish - 1 Laps Led - 8
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK QUOTE:
(ON ADVICE FROM NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES CHAMPION KEVIN HARVICK.)
“I've got to give a shout-out. I can't thank Kevin Harvick enough. I went and sat with him for about 30 minutes to an hour last night, trying to learn everything I could. Kevin's one of the best racers here at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, so I had to ask him.
“He's very good at conserving tires, and very good at winning races here, so to go and talk to him was very special."
(ON THE FUNDING ON THE NO. 8 CHEVROLET.)
“We have put in a lot of hard work with just a little funding and we’ve come out and contended for wins.”