NEMCO Motorsports was within striking distance of a top finishing slot before a bout of bad luck struck at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend. A broken rear-end gear relegated John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 8 SWM International Inc. Chevrolet Silverado team to a 29th-place finish in the Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway.
Nemechek started Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at the Martinsville Speedway from the 16th position based on the results of the qualifying session earlier that day. Over the opening laps of the extended 250-lap event, the 17-year old driver worked his way up to the 12th position by Lap 30. When the first caution flag waved on Lap 35, crew chief Gere Kennon called Nemechek in for two right-side Goodyear tires and Sunoco Racing fuel, and Nemechek restarted in the fourth position, looking to continue his forward progression. Under the Lap 55 caution, Kennon made the decision to stay out and not pit the Chevrolet Silverado. Once the field went green on Lap 69, the 32-truck field stayed caution-free for over 70 laps, the longest green-flag run in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history at Martinsville Speedway.
Nemechek eventually fell back to the 10th position by Lap 120 reporting “snug” conditions, and the team put together a plan to improve the handling of the NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet. Relief came on Lap 143 when the third caution flag was displayed, and under caution, Nemechek pitted for four fresh tires, two cans of fuel and a tear-off. He restarted seventh and drove his way up into the sixth position by Lap 150. As the event entered its final stages, Nemechek and Kennon felt the Chevrolet Silverado was in good form as they chose not to pit during a caution on Lap 164. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year contender continued to work and made his way into the top five by Lap 173.
Nemechek was battling for the fourth position when, on Lap 174, something broke in the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado. With no forward drive, he slowed to a standstill at the entrance of the garage in Turn 3 to bring out the sixth caution of the day. A review of the equipment by the team determined that the rear-end gear had broken, and the team did not have enough time to fix it and get back out onto the .526-mile track. Nemechek and the NEMCO Motorsports team finished in the 29th position.
Start - 16 Finish - 29 Laps Led - 0
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK QUOTE:
“This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, I feel like we unloaded strong. We made good adjustments in practice, and making the personnel change over the off-season has helped week-in and week-out with our Chevrolet Silverado. Also, our communications skills are getting stronger.
“That was my debut of the season, and we did not qualify as well as we wanted to, but we made a charge to the front. I cannot thank our NEMCO Motorsports guys enough for all of their help. I am looking forward to the next event – at Dover International Speedway.”