- John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Yahoo! team roll into the regular season finale at Pocon0 (Pa.) Raceway in a tie for second place in the Camping World Truck Series regular season standings, 58 points behind points leader Zane Smith. With a win at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway earlier in the season, Nemechek has already locked himself into the Truck Series playoffs for the fourth time in his career.
- Global media and tech company, Yahoo!, will adorn the hood of the No. 4 Tundra TRD Pro this Saturday at Pocono. Yahoo! has made one start earlier this season with KBM when owner-driver Kyle Busch drove the No. 51 to victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. Yahoo! will return as the primary sponsor with the No. 4 team next weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
- Nemechek will be piloting the same Tundra TRD Pro (KBM-56) on Saturday that he drove to victory in last year’s race at the ‘Tricky Triangle’, while leading 12 laps and picking up a Stage Two win. In four starts at Pocono in Camping World Truck Series action, the second-generation driver has recorded one win (2021), 21 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.8. In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts he produced an average finish of 9.5 and in two Cup Series starts he recorded an average finish of 21.5.
- Entering the regular season finale, the second-generation driver leads all Truck Series regulars in poles (four) and average starting position (6.7). He is also second in average running position (9.610) and driver rating (101.8), and third in laps led (171).
- 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 139 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, he has compiled six poles, 1,369 laps led, 46 top-five and 76 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 Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the first team in Truck 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 five Camping World Truck Series starts at Pocono. In those five starts, his drivers have recorded one win (Nemechek – 2021), 29 laps led, four top-five and five top-10 finishes with an average finish of 3.2.
What’s the trickiest part of the “Tricky Triangle?”
“Making your truck go around all three corners very well. Turn 1 is different from Turn 2, the ‘Tunnel Turn’ is completely different from Turn 3 and Turn 3 is different than Turn 1. So, three completely different types of corners. It’s something that you have to figure out how to drive through, how to set your truck up for it, and to have the best finish that you possibly can to each corner because the straightaways are so long. It’s all about getting through the corner and getting on the straightaway.”
You are tied for second in the regular season standings heading into Saturday. Do you race for stage points in an effort to finish second in the points or do you go for a strategy to race for the win?
“I think it depends on the day and situation with how fast we are. I think you’ll see a lot of guys jump the stages and pit before the stage breaks to be in a better spot to win the race. Last year, we played the stages and actually ran until the end of each stage and did not pit before the break and still ended up winning the race with a really fast truck so hopefully we can do the same this year.”
How important is it to have a strong run on Saturday and have momentum heading into the start of the playoffs?
“I do think it is important having momentum going into the playoffs, whether it’s a win this weekend or a really strong run. We need to get out of the mechanical failures and DNF’s (did not finish) that we’ve had this year. We’ve had way too many but we’re still up there in points and we still have speed, we just need to get a little bit better. So, hopefully getting some momentum this weekend at Pocono can transfer into IRP next weekend and kickoff the playoffs on a really strong note.”