John Hunter Nemechek Swaps Fire Suit for Lab Coat at McWane Science Center in Advance of fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway

If second-generation driver John Hunter Nemechek weren’t racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), chances are he’d be an engineer. The 20-year old driver, currently in the midst of the series’ playoff battle, traded in his fire suit and helmet Wednesday for a lab coat and safety goggles during a visit to Birmingham’s McWane Science Center.

“I’ve had a passion for science and engineering since I was a young child,” said Nemechek, son of two-time Talladega NASCAR XFINITY Series winner Joe Nemechek, who will make his third Talladega start in the upcoming fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday Oct. 14. “That love began because many of my family members have an engineering background. For me, that passion is still there today, and I’ve even had the chance to do a lot of the different calculations in our NEMCO Motorsports shop.”

At the McWane Science Center, Nemechek “suited up” as the assistant scientist for a combustion demonstration performed in front of a group of local elementary school students. Sporting a stylish white coat and protective eyewear, Nemechek helped showcase many different examples of combustion reactions, which included applying a flame to both regular and chemically treated paper, as well as showing the students how different types of explosions can happen.

“Today brought back a lot of memories of the fun times I had doing science experiments as an elementary school kid,” he said. “It was neat to be in a different role as an assistant rather than a student. I hope I showed the students how science and engineering plays in an integral role in any profession – especially NASCAR. Who knows, maybe there was a future driver in the crowd.”

While at the center, Nemechek also took time to inform the school group in attendance about Talladega’s special kids ticket offers for the Oct. 13-15 race weekend. Youngsters 12-and-under receive free grandstand admission to Saturday’s fred’s 250 Powered Coca-Cola, as well as Friday’s practice sessions for the NCWTS and the Alabama 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). For Sunday’s Alabama 500, kids receive $50 off regular pricing for grandstand admission.

While in “The Magic City,” Nemechek also toured some iconic locations. He first stopped by Sloss Furnaces to take a look at the creation of the new Hammer and Anvil Trophy, which will be awarded to the winner of fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola for the first time. The trophy pays homage to the colossal Vulcan – the largest cast iron statue in the world that stands high above Birmingham, by showcasing his hammer and anvil, which he used to create weaponry and items for the gods of Ancient Roman Myth.

Nemechek then got up close and personal with Vulcan during a visit to the Vulcan Park & Museum where the inspiration of Talladega’s other tradition began – The Vulcan Trophy – that is awarded to each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner at Talladega. He toured the museum, which is currently showcasing a racing exhibit called Southern Thunder: The Legacy of Alabama Auto Racing, stimulated by the famed original Alabama Gang’s influence on motorsports.

Nemechek sits eighth in the NCWTS playoff standings and is virtually in a must-win situation for Talladega, which hosts the elimination race where the field of playoff contenders will be trimmed from eight to six at the checkered flag. The competition will be stout with the likes of regular season champion Christopher Bell and a host of young guns, as well as veterans like former series’ champions Johnny Sauter (2013 TSS winner) and Matt Crafton, along with defending fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola winner – Alabama native Grant Enfinger.

“We know we basically need to win at Talladega if we want to advance to the Round of Six,” said Nemechek. “We’ve prepared for this moment, and I have a lot of faith in our equipment. It won’t be easy, but if anyone is up for the challenge it’s our team.

“Dad and I have had plenty of discussions about Talladega. He knows his way around the track and has been instrumental in educating me about drafting. Hopefully I can use all that he taught me to drive the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet to victory lane next Saturday.”

Visit or call 855-518-RACE (7223) for ticket information to experience the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at 12 Noon (CDT) Saturday. The weekend will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. (CDT) with the Alabama 500, six-time TSS winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final start at the 2.66-mile venue and the “Wildcard” second race in the Round of 12 of the MENCS playoffs.


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