- After an eighth-place finish at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway last Saturday, John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team return to action Saturday night for the second running of the Clean Harbors 150 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. In last year’s inaugural event, Nemechek was forced to start at the rear of the field and drove to an 11th-place finish.
- With four races remaining in the regular season, Nemechek currently sits fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, just 14 points back of ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes in first. Nemechek leads the NASCAR Truck Series regulars in poles (four), average starting position (6.7), and average running position (8.431). He is also second in driver rating (102.7) and third in laps led (171) and fastest laps run (81).
- The 25-year-old driver will be making his ninth career start on a dirt track in Camping World Truck Series action. Nemechek has previously made five starts at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway, two at Bristol Dirt, and one at Knoxville. In his first eight starts, he has tallied 12 laps led, two top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.8. His best result on dirt recently came in the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol where he secured a third-place finish.
- Nemechek is a 12-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, and returning to victory lane in 2021 and 2022 with KBM. Across 136 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, he has compiled six poles, 1,352 laps led, 45 top-five and 74 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.5.
- Eric Phillips returned to lead the No. 4 team in 2022. His 42 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 33 of those coming while at KBM including five last year. Phillips led the No. 18 team at KBM in its debut season in 2010 and helped build the organization into one of the premier teams in all of NASCAR before departing at the end of the 2014 season. Under his guidance, the No. 18 team won eight races in its inaugural campaign and became the first team in Truck Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the No. 51 team to an owner’s championship and his team’s 10 wins spearheaded KBM to a single-season Truck Series record of 14 wins. Phillips has been atop the box for just four starts at dirt tracks in Camping World Truck Series action. In those four starts, his drivers have tallied one pole, 24 laps led, one top-five and one top-10 finish resulting in an average finish of 20.5. His best result was Nemechek’s third-place finish earlier this year on the dirt at Bristol.
- The world’s leading synthetic motor oil, Mobil 1, will adorn the hood of the No. 4 Tundra TRD Pro this Saturday at Knoxville Raceway. Mobil 1 returns as the primary sponsor of Nemechek’s Toyota for three more races in 2022; June 24 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, July 9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Oct. 1 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
How different is it racing at Knoxville compared to Bristol Dirt?
“It is, Knoxville being flat and not having a lot of banking. Bristol, they did a very good job with the track prep. You were able to run the bottom, the middle, all the way up to the fence. I’m not sure how Knoxville will play out, last year it was one lane right around the bottom and if you were on the outside, it wasn’t good. Hopefully we do a little bit better with the track prep this year and can run multiple lanes, I know the World of Outlaws ran there this past weekend and they put on a good show being able to run the bottom all the way up to the fence. So, we’ll see what happens, looking forward to getting back dirt racing and chasing another victory.”
Do you feel with how the track races that it will be another super aggressive race this weekend?
“Yeah, I feel like Knoxville is definitely going to be a super aggressive race. I feel like the biggest thing for us is just trying to stay in the right mindset and not get flustered. It’s not if you’re going to get run into, it’s when, so just trying to keep that mindset, not get flustered in the moment and take yourself out of contention by trying to make a move too early or whatever it may be. So, just have to be smart, race our race and salvage the best finish that we can.”
Does having Buddy Kofoid as a teammate this weekend help at all with going to race a dirt track?
“I think having Buddy the Dirt Driver with us this weekend is definitely going to be good to just have a different perspective. Having Brian Brown there last year, he doesn’t have a lot of stock car experience, kind of like Buddy, but you can pick their brain about the dirt, how the track is going to change, and what the track is going to do in terms of rubbering up or staying wet and tacky. We have two practice sessions on Friday so definitely going to be interested to see how the track changes. It changed a lot last year in those two practices and was completely different when we went back on Saturday for the race, so just have to stay on top of it and know what to do and how to make adjustments inside the race car with my hands and feet and pedals and everything else to try and get the truck to turn or not break rear traction depending on the conditions of the racetrack. Being able to lean a lot on those guys for that information is very important.”