NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: John Hunter Nemechek Wins Texas, Goes Back-to-Back

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In a Nutshell: John Hunter Nemechek is pretty good at this truck racing thing.

Nemechek led nearly half the laps of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ SpeedyCash.com 220 on Saturday (June 12) afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, kicking off a solid day for team owner Kyle Busch all around: Busch went on to win the Xfinity Series’ event later that afternoon. The former victory, though, was the No. 4’s fourth overall and second straight triumph of the season, coming 15 days after he also dominated the series’ race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I feel like we’ve been making a statement all year,” Nemechek told FOX Sports 1 after the race. “I feel like we’re one of the favorites every time that we show up to the racetrack. … Everyone does so good with building our trucks, I’m just lucky enough to be behind the wheel. It’s amazing to get win No. 4 here. I haven’t won with Romco Equipment on board yet in my career so finally we were able to get them a win.”

Nemechek was trailed by Chase Elliott, who came home second in his first Truck Series start of 2021.

Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.

The Win That Could’ve Been

Elliott led 45 laps in his debut race with sponsor Adrenaline Shoc, which will appear on his Cup Series car later this year. Elliott took control of the middle portion between stints of Nemechek leading, out front for 14 laps in the first half of the race and 31 in the latter half. Elliott never won a stage, but moved through the field quickly after starting 22nd. He reached the top 10 before lap 20, but with Nemechek’s stellar race he couldn’t quite get to the front. Elliott finished second, 3.361 seconds back from the No. 4.

Race Notes

  • Two weeks removed from Charlotte, Texas fortunately didn’t feature a truck completely disintegrating across the tri-oval like Johnny Sauter‘s did on that May evening. There were, however, a few hard hits in the Lone Star State, kicked off by Sheldon Creed … twice. Twos everywhere: Creed brought out the first two cautions, and both times were because the No. 2 spun in turn 2. Creed’s day was ended by the second incident, and he would’ve finished last if not for Ross Chastain‘s disqualification. Creed led 131 laps and won the Texas race last fall.

  • The hits didn’t stop there, as both Stewart Friesen and Drew Dollar smacked the inside (Friesen) and outside (Dollar) walls at laps 53 and 70, respectively.

  • Dollar’s season has progressively gone downhill, albeit with just three starts. His maiden appearance in the series, coming in the season opener at Daytona, yielded a top 10 finish despite being caught up in the last-lap crash: Dollar finished 10th, spinning at the front of the wreck and essentially being pushed across under the checkered flag by the jumble of crashing competitors. He ended up 20th at Charlotte, incidentally the truck in front of Sauter when the No. 13 smashed into Trey Hutchens‘ nearly-stopped No. 14. Dollar was running at the end of the race, but the incident sent him spinning and relegated him to one lap down.
  • Ben Rhodes still sits second in the points after his day went south late, smacking the wall and receiving a flat tire and damage.
  • Nemechek has now led 473 laps during the 2021 season. The second-most is Creed with 158, so Nemechek leads all drivers by more than 300 circuits and has led just shy of a third of the 1425 laps so far this year.

Halfway Analysis

  • With the 22-race 2021 season halfway over, Nemechek continues to dominate. He’s won more than a third of the races, led the aforementioned nearly-a-third of the laps, sits 78 points ahead of Rhodes, has led at least 64 laps in the races he’s won and shows no sign of slowing down.
  • Rookie Carson Hocevar continues to impress, remaining in the top 10 in points with an 11th-place run after nearly winning at Charlotte.
  • Multiple wins have been hard to come by for anyone but Nemechek. Rhodes started the season with the back-to-back wins in Daytona, but it’s mostly been a Toyota party that doesn’t include ThorSport Racing: Nemechek has the four victories, Kyle Busch has two in KBM’s No. 51 and Martin Truex Jr. has one with the team.
  • In fact, it’s been hard for any manufacturer to get wins outside of Toyota: Chevrolet and Ford have just one apiece with Creed at Darlington (Chevy) and Todd Gilliland at Circuit of the Americas (Ford). The ‘Yoters have won nine of 2021’s 11 races overall.

2021 Rookie Report

No. 1 – Hailie Deegan
No. 02 – Kris Wright
No. 18 – Chandler Smith
No. 23 – Chase Purdy
No. 42 – Carson Hocevar

No. of rookies in the race: 5

No. of rookies in the top 10: 1 (Chandler Smith, finished fifth)

Rookie of the race: Smith

Point report: The top two stay the same (Nemechek and Rhodes), but Front Row Joe’s son extended his lead by 34 points with Rhodes’ 26th-place finish. Chandler Smith leapfrogged Sauter and Austin Wayne Self to secure the 11th spot in the standings, while Creed dropped out of the top five with his dismal afternoon.

Enfinger also jumped two spots, continuing to capitalize on his part-time schedule. Hocevar still sits 10th, while Deegan plummeted a couple spots after a run outside the top 20.

Series regular winners: Ben Rhodes (Daytona, Daytona road course); John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas, Richmond, Charlotte, Texas); Sheldon Creed (Darlington); Todd Gilliland (COTA)

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Up next: It’s been a month shy of a decade since the Truck Series has visited Nashville Superspeedway. The top five the last time they were there? Austin Dillon, Sauter, Timothy Peters, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Parker Kligerman.

The series’ return is set for this coming Friday, June 18 at 8 p.m. ET. Coverage will be on FOX Sports 1.

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