Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Little Team That Could: Joe Nemechek Finishes Third at Daytona

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega always seem to be the great equalizer, with teams big and small all having a shot at taking home the win.

In Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, that was indeed the case as Joe Nemechek delivered at top-five finish to his team, NEMCO Motorsports, for the second year in a row with a third-place result. His finish marks his best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since Texas in 2014.

Both father and son John Hunter Nemechek raced in Friday night’s race and while the younger Nemechek crashed out 72 laps into the event, Joe Nemechek put himself in the right place at the right time to be in a position to potentially pull off the victory, falling just short of that goal by the time the checkered flag flew.

“It was definitely an interesting race,” the elder Nemechek said. “I mean right from the start a lot of the trucks out there were definitely out of control. Again, I’ve been doing this a long time and seen a lot of this stuff happen. Just trying to put myself in a position where I’m going to be there for the last two laps and not be wrecked out of the race.

“At one point, we ran over an air hose and had to go to the back, but it was pretty easy to get back to the front. We had the new NT1 engine in and it ran flawless since we’ve been here. It was just a good weekend.”

After running full-time the last few seasons, NEMCO enters 2018 in a bit of limbo as John Hunter has moved on to the Xfinity Series, leaving the Truck team with just four employees trying to figure out their plans for the remainder of the year. Friday night’s finish certainly goes a long way in helping them along that path.

“I feel very fortunate to be here,” he added. “This is a season that we’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing and what races we’re running. Basically, I have four employees and man, we’ve re-bodied about eight trucks over the winter and got two trucks prepared to come down here with four people. That’s a pretty amazing feat in itself trying to do that.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.