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The 24-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek made good on the moniker he adapted “#Here4Wins” as he racked up a career-best five victories in the No. 4 Toyota.
When it came to the championship, however, John Hunter came up short. He advanced to the Championship 4 in the season finale but ended up third in the series standings.
As the 2022 season kicks off with Friday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway, Nemechek is hoping to cash in on what he and his team learned in 2021 and win his first series title.
“When you come into a new season, you want to go and achieve the goals that you may not have the year prior even though it was a really good year,” Nemechek said. “We learned a lot last year and we built a notebook.
“There are mistakes that we made, but it’s all in the process of learning and building that notebook so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. So that you can continue to grow and learn from it and have an even better season and that’s what we are here to do.”
John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota Tundra Pye-Barker Fire & Safety
Nemechek started the 2021 season off well, starting seventh at Daytona and finishing seventh, and led 14 laps in the race.
“We were able to have a great run at Daytona last year,” he said. “I feel like we’ve gotten our trucks better at superspeedway racing as of late, had a shot to win Talladega and we’re taking that same truck to Daytona, so hopefully it has some speed.
“Hopefully we can get the season kicked off on the right foot and start of the year with some good stage points and a really good finish. Just have to keep our nose clean, stay out of the big one – that’s really all it takes.”
Nemechek led the Truck Series in race wins (five), stage wins (11), and won the regular season championship in 2021. He also topped all drivers in fastest laps run (299) and top-five finishes (16).
That consistency will again be key to contending for the Truck title this year. Nemechek believes having the same core of team members will also prove a big advantage.
“We have the same group around me, Eric Phillips (crew chief), Adam (Ebel) our engineer, and Jimmy (Villeneuve) our car chief with a few mechanic changes on our team, but it seems like everything is continuing to go in the right direction,” he said.
“I feel comfortable with where I am at. TRD and Toyota do a lot for us, and I feel like we are able to utilize the resources that they give us to go and succeed on the race track.”
In Thursday’s lone series practice session, Nemechek ended up 10th-fastest and appeared to be able to move through the field without issue.
“Being up front towards the end is huge,” Nemechek said of Friday night’s race. “Normally, they come down to a short amount of run. Normally there is a green-white-checkered or something to finish it off.
“That’s a huge key of just positioning yourself in the right place.”