Despite Sponsorship Woes, John Hunter Nemechek Captures A Much Needed Win At Gatewayby Hunter Thomas June 18, 2017
MADISON, Ill. – With tears in his eyes, John Hunter Nemechek thanked his entire team in Victory Lane after winning Saturday night’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Nemechek started on the outside of the front row in the NEMCO Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet to begin the race, but he quickly made his way to the front as he led lap 1. He went on to lead the first 39 laps and a total of only 46 laps. The 20-year-old completed the winning pass on race leader, Matt Crafton in Turns 1 and 2 with just six laps to go. The win comes as a great relief because according to Joe Nemechek, John Hunter’s father, the team has only secured sponsorship for about half of the season. Nemechek now currently sits ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings with a win, and three top-five finishes.
“It’s definitely an emotional win,” John Hunter Nemechek said in Victory Lane with tears in his eyes. “All of the hard work that goes in, everyone works their tails off, and we haven’t had the best of luck this year. Getting into Victory Lane when we needed to, God is great, and I can’t thank Him enough. Being faithful, I knew all of the hard work would pay off, so this is an awesome Father’s Day present for dad here and team owner.”
Brad Keselowski Racing’s Chase Briscoe had yet, another strong performance. He finished second last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, and he backed the run up with another runner-up finish in the No. 29 Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Ford on Saturday night. Briscoe started on the pole and led a race high of 88 laps.
“It’s just unfortunate circumstance, we were really fast,” Briscoe said. “I felt like we had the truck to beat, and I kinda didn’t get all I could get I don’t think getting onto pit road under green. There at the end, we just didn’t feel like we could beat them without tires, so we went ahead and came down. The first two laps, I just had too much front brake dialed to, and I kept locking up the brakes getting into (Turn) 1. Definitely a tough one to swallow, but overall a good day for us.”
Johnny Sauter finished third in the GMS Racing No. 21 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet. Although Sauter didn’t lead a lap on Saturday, he will continue to keep the lead in the standings with a top-five finish. He leads Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell by 38 points.
ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger finished out the top-five.
“Those guys just took two tires and I was on no tires and we had a lot of laps on them right side tires and we were just done,” Crafton said after finishing fourth. “You win some, you lose some and everybody is upset but at the same time they knew we were here tonight.”
Rounding out the top-10 was Christopher Bell, followed by Ryan Truex, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley.
During the Drivin’ for Linemen 200, there were only three cautions. The first two cautions came out to signal the end of Stages 1 and 2. Nemechek won Stage 1, while Briscoe took the victory in Stage 2.
The third and final caution of the night came out on lap 149 when Josh Reaume stalled on the track.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit Iowa Speedway on Friday, June 23 for the M&M’s ® 200 Presented by Casey’s General Store. Live broadcast of the race will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images