John Hunter Nemechek Forced to Make Up Ground
John Hunter Nemechek is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to make it to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kicking off the Round of 6 at Martinsville Speedway, Nemechek lost his brakes on Lap 37, backing the No. 8 Chevrolet into the outside retaining wall. With massive rear-end damage, he was forced behind the wall and out of the event.
“Just no brakes,” Nemechek said. “It didn’t give any warning; it didn’t get mushy. We were just riding around, biding our time, and I drove into (turn) one normal and hit the brake pedal, and it went straight to the floor. It sucks for our guys, sucks for our Fire Alarm Services truck. We had a fast truck in race trim, and I felt like we had a race contending truck and could’ve gotten some track position.”
He will now enter the next two events 23 points behind the cut-off line.
The next two tracks have produced a mix of results for the second generation racer, as well. Nemechek has only one top-10 (seventh in June 2016) in four races at Texas Motor Speedway, compared to three top-10’s in his last three starts at Phoenix Raceway, including a runner-up in November 2015.
Being near the cut-off line is something Nemechek has grown used to this year, though. He barely made the Round of 6 following a 20th-place finish in Las Vegas and surviving a crash at Talladega to post a top-10.
“It sucks to be out of the race this early, but we dug ourselves out of one hole in the first round,” Nemechek added. “So hopefully they won’t know what hit them next week at Texas.”
Fighting back has been the theme for this season, as he started 2017 with five finishes outside of the top-20 in the first seven races before back-to-back victories locked him into the playoffs.
Nemechek has experience in this situation, but when do you take too many chances at fate and fail to transfer? The next two weeks could prove to be too much, or show the perseverance that may propel the 20-year-old to his first championship.
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