John Hunter Nemechek led a race high 50-laps and won the opening two stages of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway but got caught up in “the big one” while challenging for the win in the closing laps and ended the day with a disappointing 24th-place finish.
In addition to two playoff points, with the 20 stage points he earned Nemechek leaves Daytona seventh in the driver point standings despite his finish.
Stage One Recap
·        Nemechek started the NextEra Energy 250 on the front row in the second position beside ThorSport Racing driver Ty Majeski.
·        As the field took the green flag, Nemechek jumped down to the bottom lane to get help from his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Chandler Smith who started the race in the third position.
·        On lap eight, Nemechek communicated to the No. 4 team that his Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was “tight all the way around” but still would maintain his second position.
·        Just five laps later, Nemechek came over the radio saying that he had the opposite problem as he was starting to become a little free exiting Turn 4.
·        Despite handling issues, Nemechek took the lead late in Stage One and would go on to win his first stage of the season.
Stage Two Recap:
·        Nemechek brought his Pye-Barker Tundra TRD Pro down pit road at the stage break and received fuel and a chassis adjustment.
·        The second-generation driver led the field to the green in Stage Two and would remain out front until Lap 30 when the top lane started to form and make a run, dropping Nemechek back to third.
·        With just four laps left in Stage Two, Nemechek jumped up to the top lane in front of KBM teammate Chandler Smith with help behind them.
·        As Nemechek and Smith controlled the top lane, Tyler Ankrum and Derek Kraus got loose on the bottom lane, forfeiting the lead back to the No. 4 team.
·        As the field came out of Turn 4, Nemechek was forced to block both lanes as ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes had a run in the top lane.
·        Nemechek and Rhodes raced back to the line, but Nemechek ultimately beat out Rhodes by a narrow margin for his second stage win of the night.
Final Stage Recap:
·        The second-generation driver brought his No. 4 Toyota back down pit road and would restart the final stage in third.
·        Just past the midway point in the race, Nemechek would regain the lead from Halmar Friesen Racing driver Stewart Friesen.
·        On lap 65, the third caution of the race came out for an incident on the backstretch and brought the field back down pit road. Nemechek and the No. 4 team would hold their first position on the restart with just 33 laps remaining in the NextEra Energy 250.
·        As the race was winding down, a four-truck incident in Turn 4 brought out the fifth caution of the night as Nemechek was in front of the field.
·        On the restart, the bottom lane would fall back in the draft, forcing Nemechek to forfeit the lead to Ben Rhodes.
·        As the field was coming to the line on Lap 99, Nemechek was running third but would be involved in a 17-truck incident as the No. 16 would spin out in front of him causing severe right-front damage.
·        The No. 4 team worked to repair the Pye-Barker Tundra and sent Nemechek back out to finish the race two laps down in the 24th-position.
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Pye-Barker Tundra TRD Pro for KBM:
Talk about your race.
“I felt like I controlled the race. There were times when we were second, third, just kind of riding in line waiting for the right time to make a move. I gained a whole new respect for speedway racing after listening to Denny (Hamlin) and kind of studying some of the things that he’s done, what (Brad) Keselowski has done, what Kyle (Busch) has done, what (Joey) Logano’s done. They are some good guys at speedway racing, and I studied how they are always at the front. I worked my butt off last year studying and I feel like it has paid off. We won both stages and put ourselves in the right positing there at the end. I had Parker (Kligerman) behind me, I was committed to the 16 there for a bit and then Parker I feel like was committed to me and we just wrecked in the tri-oval. It is was it is, we put ourselves into contention and that’s all you can do. The last two superspeedway races I’ve felt like we’ve had the best truck and controlled the race, really.”
NextEra Energy 250 Recap
·        Zane Smith picked up the fourth win of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes, Tanner Gray, and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top-five finishers.
·        There were seven cautions for 27 laps. There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers, including Nemechek who led a race high 50 laps.
How John Hunter Nemechek’s KBM Teammates Fared:
·        Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 21st.
·        Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 32nd.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
Despite being caught in “The Big One,” Nemechek still sits in seventh in the Driver Championship Standings, just 13 tallies behind points leader, Zane Smith. Nemechek also collected two playoff points with his stage wins.
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