The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes on the Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway dirt track for the first time on July 9. Points leader John Hunter Nemechek will have to start the race from the rear after a hard collision with the outside wall crumpled his primary ride.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver lost control of his No. 4 Toyota Tundra while navigating around a turn. He slammed the rear of the truck into the wall and then spun to the right, also damaging the front. Fox Sports reporter Jamie Little spoke to crew chief Eric Phillips, who confirmed that the team would go to the backup truck. “I have too good of a truck in the hauler to not bring it out,” Phillips told Little.
Prior to the incident, Nemechek had turned in the 20th-fastest lap of the practice session. According to a release from NASCAR, he posted a lap time of 22.669 seconds at 79.44 mph. KBM teammate Chandler Smith had the best lap of the session with a time of 22.203 seconds at 81.070 mph.
Nemechek Wrecked During the Last Dirt Race
While the driver of the No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra has five wins during the 2021 season, he has dealt with issues during recent trips to dirt tracks. He wrecked during practice at Knoxville Speedway and crashed during the first-ever Truck Series dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Though outside influences contributed to the wreck.
The Truck Series drivers headed to Bristol on March 29 with the goal of capturing the checkered flag and locking up a spot in the playoffs. Nemechek’s day came to an end after only nine laps when a collision destroyed the front of the No. 4.
The incident occurred as Nemechek began to navigate one of the turns. Matt Crafton’s No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra hit the No. 4 from behind and sent it sideways toward the wall. Nemechek stopped before he hit the wall, but an out-of-control Derek Kraus slid in and collided with the front of the truck. As fluid poured out of Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota, driver-analyst Joey Logano commented that he was done for the day.
While Nemechek wrecked at Knoxville and Bristol, he has performed consistently well at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. He has five starts at the dirt track with four top-10 finishes. His best outing was a fifth-place finish in 2017 during a race that Crafton won.
Nemechek Will Now Pursue His Sixth Win of 2021
The No. 4 Toyota Tundra will start the Knoxville Speedway race from the rear of the field, forcing Nemechek to navigate his way through the field in pursuit of his sixth win of 2021. Achieving this goal will not be a simple task, especially with another playoff driver standing in his way.
Ben Rhodes, the driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra, finished second during the Bristol dirt race in March. This runner-up performance followed two victories in the first two races of the season, which briefly gave Rhodes the points lead over Nemechek. Though he later dropped to second as his peer continued to register wins.
Rhodes may not hold the top spot in the standings anymore, but he remains a championship contender with 489 points and 10 top-10 finishes. Now he will take on a dirt track for the second time in 2021 while trying to add more playoff points to his total.