John Hunter Nemechek looks ahead to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs with a season that he believes has not yet met its maximum potential.
A year ago, the 25-year-old stepped back down to the NCWTS after a brief season in the Cup Series. It was all in an effort to win races and eventually a championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
In 2021, Nemechek was the class of the field at the start of the Playoffs with five victories and earned the regular season championship. Opposed to this year where the No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra team pulled into victory lane on one occasion and are the fourth seed as the post-season begins next weekend at the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Nemechek actually prefers his title outlook for the mere fact that he is not the clear favorite for the championship compared to last season, where he ultimately couldn’t pull off the title win.
“I hope we’re the ones everyone is chasing every week,” Nemechek said after Saturday’s race at Pocono. “I told myself all year, this year, I didn’t want to peak too early. And we haven’t peaked too early, only winning one regular season race.”
With Nemechek having only collected one win in 2022, which came at Darlington Raceway, his teammates have had the better of him, which shows there is more to be found for his own efforts. KBM youngster, Chandler Smith has two victories and part-time rookie in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra, Corey Heim also has scored a pair of wins.
Smith’s triumph at Pocono Raceway this past weekend headed up his two teammates who both joined him for finishes inside the top-five, a second occurrence for KBM this season.
“Had a really fast Yahoo! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro today, feel like we’re starting to come on strong at the right time,” Nemechek said. “So, all three KBM trucks looked really fast today, we were all up front pretty much all day and one of the only teams that I feel like could pass a lot of trucks coming from the back to the front a few times, after different strategies.”
The North Carolina-native racked up five top-five finishes through the first eight races of the season. The speed has translated into the last eight events as six top-five results have been achieved.
“Looking forward to starting the playoffs next week, trying to go get our chance in the Final 4. I’d much rather win five races, like I told you earlier, in the playoffs than in the regular season, so let’s go win a championship,” said Nemechek.