John Hunter Nemechek earned his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in the last four races and had to hold off his boss Kyle Busch to do so Saturday afternoon. Nemechek scored the victory by a slim .307-seconds over Busch in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.
Nemechek, 23, led a race best 114 of the 250 laps in his No. 4 KBM Toyota, reclaiming the lead for good with 17 laps remaining after racing back from a late race pit stop. Busch, who has 12 wins overall at Richmond – six in the NASCAR Cup Series and six in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – was pushing for his first truck series win at the three-quarter mile track.
The KBM truck team has now won four consecutive races – two for Nemechek (Las Vegas also), Busch (Atlanta) and Martin Truex Jr. (Bristol).
To download ToyotaCare 250 post-race celebration images, click here.
For a while it looked like KBM may earn a sweep – with Nemechek, Busch and teammate Chandler Smith running 1-2-3 in the waning laps, but Tyler Ankrum got around Smith with a handful of laps remaining to take third place. Smith held on for fourth place – the 19-year old’s best finish of the season.
Former series champion Johnny Sauter finished fifth, followed by Todd Gilliland, Ben Rhodes and last year’s Richmond winner Grant Enfinger. Sam Mayer and Austin Hill rounded out the Top-10. Toyota Racing claimed seven of the top 10 trucks. Reigning series champion Sheldon Creed was 11th.
The victory for Nemechek comes just three weeks after his wife gave birth to their first child, daughter Aspen, and they were trackside in the family motorhome for Nemechek’s first win as a dad.
“It’s a never give up attitude,” a smiling Nemechek said after the race. “I just can’t thank Kyle, everyone at Toyota and all our great partners. It’s pretty cool to be able to come out and here do what we did. We had a really fast truck and I’m super proud of all my guys and thankful for them.”
The race featured two very different halves. Defending winner Enfinger led 71 of the first 73 laps and earned the Stage 1 victory – his first of the year – in a clean opening to the event. The first caution was the stage break.
Busch’s team got his truck out first from that opening stage caution period, but Nemechek took the lead from his team owner on a restart at lap 100 and held it for most of the duration of the event. Nemechek won Stage 2, finishing just ahead of Enfinger and claiming his series best sixth stage win.
Nemechek had to really earn the top position from there on out – holding off the field again and again and again. There were seven cautions in the last 110 laps of the race.
Matt Crafton and his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter – along with Smith – gambled not to pit late on a caution with 55 laps remaining in the race. Nemechek and Busch and most of the frontrunners opted to pit. The KBM teammates restarted ninth and 10th with Nemechek reclaiming the lead with 17 laps to go.
Busch made a run at Nemechek after getting around Smith, but was ultimately unable to get close enough to attempt a winning pass.
“It’s awesome,” Busch said of his truck team’s streak. “I joked with John Hunter at the beginning of the year that if you win one and then I win one and you win one and then I win one – it would be pretty good to go back and forth.
“I didn’t think he was serious, but so far that’s kind of the way it’s going so I guess I get Kansas (win).”
The two-win tally equals the second-generation NASCAR driver’s season best – and this is only the sixth race of 2021. Nemechek now holds a 20-point advantage over fellow two-race winner Rhodes in the championship standings with the next race set for May 1 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
2021 NASCAR Season
Richmond Raceway continuing the 75th anniversary celebration over the Toyota Spring Race Weekend with the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 18 at 3:00 p.m.
The fall NASCAR Playoff Weekend at Richmond will include three races over two days starting with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on Friday, Sept. 10. America’s Premier Short Track will host a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 11 with the Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at 2:30 p.m. and the Federated Auto Parts 400 Cup Series Playoff race at 7:30 p.m. This will be the 30th anniversary of the fall Cup race being held under the lights at Richmond.
Fall NASCAR tickets are available for purchase via phone at 866-455-7223 or online at richmondraceway.com. Fans can view the full 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules and purchase tickets at nascar.com/tickets.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series) and three international series (NASCAR Pinty’s Series, NASCAR Peak Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
About Richmond Raceway
Richmond Raceway is America’s Premier Short Track annually hosting two NASCAR race weekends, featuring the NASCAR Cup Series and either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, on the iconic ¾-mile D-shaped oval. Richmond Raceway is a regional leader for events including sports, live music and consumer trade shows. The Richmond Raceway Complex’s 1,100 plus acre multipurpose facility hosts more than 200 live events over 280 event days annually including concerts with top national recording artists at Virginia Credit Union LIVE!, the region’s only covered amphitheater. For more information, visit richmondraceway.com, richmondracewaycomplex.com, or vaculive.com.
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