In NASCAR terms, John Hunter Nemechek is finally of age.
Having turned 18 on June 11, Nemechek is now eligible to race on any length track, as well as in any of NASCAR’s series.
Prior to his 18th birthday, Nemechek was restricted to running only on tracks of 1.25 miles or less in length, as well as road courses.
The son of veteran NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, John Hunter will make his first career start on a 1.5-mile racetrack in Thursday’s UNOH 225 Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
“I am really looking forward to getting on some of these bigger and faster tracks, and I anticipate having to learn what the aerodynamics does to our Chevrolet Silverado during passing, like when you are trying to pass from the inside,” Nemechek said in a team media release.
Nemechek has competed in four of the first nine Truck Series races this season (his father drove four other races, and Sprint Cup veteran Ryan Newman drove once for the team at Kansas).
The younger Nemechek has struggled, with three finishes between 22nd and 29th (two of those due to either a crash or mechanical failure).
But he also earned a career-best fourth-place finish last month at Gateway Motorsports Park. He also qualified a career-best second at Iowa Speedway in the most recent Truck Series race three weeks ago.
The younger Nemechek, who is a member of the 2015 NASCAR Next class, is also coming off his first win in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour for Late Models, this past Saturday at Lebanon (Mo.) I-44 Speedway.
Like a minor leaguer being promoted permanently to the majors, Nemechek is ready for the next phase of his career to begin Saturday.
“I have learned a little bit from earlier short-track races, but it is a different ball game at the 1.5-mile tracks,” Nemechek said.
“I am looking forward to going there and getting my first start at the Kentucky Speedway. Hopefully, we can seal the deal.”