John Hunter Nemechek is doing everything right as he continues his bid to return to NASCAR Cup Series.
John Hunter Nemechek was born and raised in a NASCAR family. His dad, Joe, found significant success at the sport’s highest level, highlighted by four Cup Series wins, the 1992 Busch Series championship and 16 wins in that series.
John Hunter began racing at the age of five, starting off on go-kart circuits and dirt bike competitions. All along, he had the goal of making it to the Cup Series.
After performing well in the NASCAR Truck Series in small showings from 2013-2015, he secured a full-time ride in 2016 and immediately won two races and finished eighth in points. The following year he won two more races and once again finished eighth.
Three years later, Nemechek, a winner in both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, found himself driving the No. 38 for Front Row Motorsports in auto racing’s highest level.
Things didn’t work out for Nemechek, but this could partially be due to his running on a team that … well, wasn’t very good. He managed just three top-10s in 36 starts before ultimately losing his ride in the Cup Series beginning in 2021.
NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek is well on his way back to the Cup Series
Nemechek, 25, spent the last two seasons in the Truck Series, doing everything he can to build his value back up in hopes of making it back to Cup. He has age on his side, so there is most definitely still time.
Seven wins in two years got him a look in the Xfinity Series, which is directly below Cup in terms of NASCAR’s organizational ladder.
Now, he finds himself driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing on a full-time basis, putting him in arguably the best position of his career to find long-term success.
In the season opener at Daytona, Nemechek avoided chaos all day and finished second by inches to Austin Hill, who also won last year’s season opener. There was a last-lap caution and it was down to either Hill, Nemechek or Justin Allgaier as the winner. NASCAR reviewed the replays and it was Hill by a hair.
Following up the Daytona race, Nemecheck came into the Fontana race with a chip on his shoulder. He was flying high after the runner-up finish and felt even better after he qualified second at Fontana.
While weather delayed the race from Saturday to Sunday evening after the Cup race, he was not to be denied. Nemechek was the dominant car in the event and easily won the race, the third of his Xfinity Series career.
As he aims to return to Cup, all of the proper strings are being pulled here. He has repeatedly shown that he has the talent to win in both the Xfinity and Truck Series and is primed to be an annual contender this year in his quest for a championship.
Should Nemechek win multiple races this year and contend for the title, he is putting himself in the best position possible to make his triumphant return to NASCAR’s highest level.