The Xfinity Series drivers head to Dover International Speedway on Saturday for the Drydene 200. A new face will join them for 200 laps around the Monster Mile. John Hunter Nemechek will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series midway through a dominant season in the Camping World Truck Series.
The driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra will get behind the wheel of the No. 26 Acme Markets Toyota Supra on Saturday. He will drive for Sam Hunt Racing one week after Brandon Gdovic finished 35th in the Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway. This race will mark Nemechek’s first Xfinity Series race since the 2019 season finale.
“It just helps me as a driver, and trucks don’t go to Dover,” Nemechek told the “Casey Campbell Podcast” recently. “Dover is one of my favorites race tracks, and we have a longstanding relationship with Acme and all of our great partners that support me and support us. It was one of the races that I had to go run for our sponsorship to be able to continue.”
Nemechek has started 51 Xfinity Series races during his career
The 24-year-old is no stranger to the Xfinity Series and its tracks. He started 18 of the 31 races in 2018 while driving the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Chevrolet. He then took part in a full 33-race season in 2019 while driving the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing.
Nemechek, the son of former Busch Series champion Joe Nemechek, carried on the family legacy of success. He posted six top-five finishes during his time with Ganassi, a stat line that includes a win at Kansas. Nemechek also posted ninth and 14th-place finishes at Dover during the 2018 season.
While Nemechek did not reach Victory Lane during his season with GMS Racing, he added six more top-five finishes to his resume. He also posted 19 top-10s. His best outing was a runner-up finish to — ironically enough — his future boss Kyle Busch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Nemechek will now try to add to his list of successful outings during the trip to Dover. He is a more experienced driver due to his success in the Camping World Truck Series, as well as a full-time Cup Series season in 2020, and he has six Dover starts to his name.
Nemechek has been the Truck Series’ best driver in 2021
The driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, Nemechek last ran a full Truck Series season in 2016 and 2017. He posted two wins each year before heading to Xfinity and Cup. Now that he is back in the Truck Series full-time, Nemechek is putting on a dominant performance.
The 24-year-old has started eight races in 2021, finishing inside the top-10 in all but one. His only bad outing took place at Bristol Motor Speedway on dirt. Nemechek crashed after an incident with Matt Crafton and finished 39th. He was one of seven drivers that ended the race early due to a crash, a list that includes teammate Chandler Smith.
Nemechek has reached Victory Lane twice during the 2021 season, taking the checkered flags at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway. He also had an opportunity to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but Busch raced to Victory Lane in one of his two Truck Series victories this season.
According to NASCAR, Nemechek holds the top spot in the Truck Series standings after winning two races and seven stages. His 338 laps led are by far the most in the series, helping account for 368 total points. Ben Rhodes, the winner of two races, sits in second place with 322 points while Sheldon Creed sits in third with 286 points after his win at Darlington.