The Battle at Berlin 251 wasn’t just a cleverly-named Super Late Model race that John Hunter Nemechek competed in Tuesday night. Calling it a battle was actually quite telling for how hard the young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie competitor had to work throughout the 251 grueling laps around the 4/10-mile Michigan oval
Nemechek started his No. 8 Durobyte Chevy Super Late Model from the sixth position, but almost instantly had to wrestle his racecar around Berlin Raceway. A tight condition caused Nemechek to fight to keep his place among the leaders in the first half of the race before pit stops could be made to adjust the car.
Through some clever pit strategy and a hard-working attitude between both driver and the NEMCO Motorsports pit crew, Nemechek’s car was able to improve throughout the race. Nemechek found himself in position to win in the closing stages as he battled hard inside the podium positions before finishing an impressive third.
“It was a good day for us considering the way it started,” said Nemechek following Tuesday’s race. “At the start of the race, I was way too tight. I couldn’t rotate the center, couldn’t get off the corner. All it would do is push. We decided to pit early and see what we can come up with. Dad and I talked about it and he made some great calls on the radio trying to get us some track position as well as stay on top of the tire situation.”
With the help of his NASCAR race-winning dad Joe atop the pit box helping John Hunter throughout the Battle at Berlin, the No. 8 car was right in the thick of the heavy battle for the lead in crunch time. Late in the race, Nemechek diced his way through several three-wide situations en route to the strong finish.
Still, even having finished an impressive third, Nemechek was left wondering what could have been if circumstances late in the race had played out differently.
“I can’t thank my guys enough for their hard work,” added Nemechek. “I wish we could’ve had those sticker right-side tires that we had left in the pits. We actually put our first set back on that had 70 laps on them around lap 170. It was definitely a little more difficult to pass with those tires, but we maintained. Who knows what would’ve happened with our Durobyte Chevy. We put all of our time and effort into this race. We started the weekend rough, but we finished strong.”
Nemechek will be back behind the wheel of his NASCAR Camping World Truck series ride on June 19 as he competes at Iowa Speedway with his NEMCO Motorsports No. 8.