Best finish yet: John Hunter Nemechek posted his career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish last weekend at Bristol. In a race where tire management became front and center, Nemechek and crew chief Ben Beshore persevered throughout the race and were able to post a sixth-place finish when the checkered flag flew. Additionally, the driver of the No. 42 received stage points in each stage throughout the race as he finished fifth and fourth respectively. Nemechek also jumped from 21st to 15th in the point standings after Bristol. Before last weekend, he had two top-10 finishes in his first five Cup Series starts this season while had previously notched three top-10 finishes during his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season in 2020.

Hollywood meets the road: This weekend, Erik Jones will have the unique opportunity to take actors Giancarlo Esposito and Skeet Ulrich on pace car rides Sunday morning. Esposito and Ulrich will be at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to promote the show “Parish” on AMC and AMC+. Esposito will serve as the Grand Marshal for the race weekend, while Ulrich will be behind the wheel as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Race in Austin.

Truck luck: Nemechek has two great runs at COTA under his belt while driving in the NASCAR Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He started in the top-11 for both events finishing in 12th and second place at the 3.410-mile road course in Texas.

Jones at COTA: Jones has three starts at COTA in the NASAR Cup Series. In 2022 he finished ninth after starting deep in the field in 30th. Last season he qualified eighth ending the event in 23rd.

One and only: Jones was the only driver during the 2022 race at COTA to qualify outside of the top 30 and finish inside of the top 10. Jones stalled on the backstretch 42 laps into the race falling off the lead lap and having to earn the free pass four laps later. Once the No. 43 was back in contention, Jones slowly chipped away, he sat 37th with 22 laps remaining, and as a caution flag was waived with 15 laps to go the team elected to stay out. Jones restarted 22nd and was seen just outside of the top 10 with eight to go thanks to another lucky caution. Jones finished the race ninth, earning the highest differential of all drivers, moving up 21 spots from his qualifying effort.

New paint: Texas-based ROMCO Equipment Company, has supported Nemechek since 2015 and has served the region’s heavy equipment needs for over 60 years. Their dealers specialize in products used in construction, paving, aggregate, and power equipment.


John Hunter Nemechek, Driver of the No. 42 ROMCO Toyota Camry XSE:

“I have liked racing at COTA the past few years. I think the versatility of it from the esses, to slow really tight corners, to long sweeping corners, to high-speed corners is really interesting from behind the wheel The track has a little bit of everything. It kind of makes it challenging as a driver to get your car to work in all of those sections and be able to adapt with different driving styles to each section. You will see some guys that are really good in one section and not so good in another so being able to change up your footwork and understand the racetrack is a pretty big key to COTA.”

Ben Beshore, Crew chief of the No. 42 ROMCO Toyota Camry XSE:

“COTA is unique in the sense that is has some areas that are brand new pavement and some areas seem like they have 15-year-old pavement. So the grip level changes throughout the track. You have a hairpin turn with one set of grip and the esses are brand new pavement, so it’s challenging from that aspect of trying to come up with the best compromise setup-wise for the different levels of on track.”

Erik Jones, Driver of the No. 43 Family Dollar Toyota Camry XSE:

On goals for first road course of the year.

“COTA has been good, it is a unique road course, and it is super long with a lot of corners, but hopefully we can go and put together a solid run out there. A top-10 would be great, we struggled quite a bit there last year, but we have worked hard to get our road course program better so hopefully it is going to pay off moving forward.”

Talk about how the race will change with the addition of stage breaks and the moving of the restart zones.

“It changes a lot, having the stage breaks back makes you have to pick either finish or stage points which was always the big dilemma on road courses, so we will be back battling that again. With the restart zone, it will change a lot. Last year it was pretty chaotic and probably a little over the top with how everything was going because of the restarts. I think it will be nice to have it broken up, we will have a little more space to move. If you are up in the top three or four rows you will have the opportunity to really race rather than worry about being charged from the inside. So, I think it will be better for sure, we have seen it a little bit, I know at Chicago we did it and the ROVAL as well to kind of break those restarts up.”

Dave Elenz, Crew chief of the No. 43 Family Dollar Toyota Camry XSE:

How different will the race look with the addition of stage breaks and the changing of the restart zone?

“The addition of stage breaks is like going back to normal, I think that will be good for us and it will break up the race in a way that our strategy should work better, both to get us stage points and track position. I like calling the race with stage breaks much better than what we had, so I am looking forward to that. The new restart zone will be a little less exciting compared to what we had last year. There were some pretty impressive restarts, six or even eight cars wide into turn one. Moving the restart zone is going to make it single file, maybe a couple of passes through there, but taking a lot of the excitement away that we had last year at COTA and making it a little more straightforward racing. There will be less opportunity to gain spots if you lose your track position, I am a little disappointed in that, but everyone else will be battling that as well, so I am looking forward to seeing how the race plays out.”

Talk about the team’s focus on developing a stronger road course department.

“The road courses have been a struggle for us over the last few years, we have been working really hard to get a feel that Erik is looking for, COTA was one of our stronger road courses last year. We are looking forward to the new rules package and seeing how they work on the road course. I think that will be an advantage for us and Erik, to have a little more speed than we had last year and improve our road course department.”