By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The dreams of a championship for two drivers in the first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase came to an end at Talladega Superspeedway. The Fred’s 250 presented by Coca-Cola was the first elimination race in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
John Hunter Nemechek entered the final race in the Round of Eight just 15-points behind the Chase cutoff. Nemechek was 16th in the first practice, and fifth fastest in the final practice. In qualifying, he was able to put his No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Inc. Chevrolet Silverado 11th on the starting grid.
Nemechek was running mid-pack in the draft when on lap 14 his truck began to billow with smoke. After taking his truck to the garage, it was clear that Nemechek would not return to the race, and finished last, his Chase dreams ended by an engine failure.
Nemechek was disappointed that his dreams for a championship came to an abrupt end.
“All of my temps were good. I haven’t seen a big blow up like that in a while. It’s definitely disappointing, but that’s how the last three weeks have been. I can’t thank all of my guys enough, Fire Alarm Services for everything they’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to the next few races, we’ll regroup and hopefully we can win a few more races before the year is over.”
Daniel Hemric, like Nemechek, entered Talladega 15-points behind the Chase cutoff. Hemric was 21st in the first practice, and fourth fastest in the final practice. In qualifying, he put his No. 19 DrawTite Ford F-150 17th on the starting grid.
Hemric was mid-pack when John Wes Townley spun ahead of him on lap 43. In the scramble to avoid Townley, Hemric was hit from behind by teammate Tyler Reddick. The contact sent Hemric spinning into the outside wall. Hemric suffered left front damage that his Brad Keselowski Racing team was able to repair.
On lap 60, ‘The Big One,’ took place when Ben Rhodes slid into the wall and then spun back down into the pack entering turn one. In the chaos, Hemric spun through the infield. At first it looked like Hemric would sneak away from the wreck without any further damage.
Unfortunately for Hemric, his other teammate, Austin Cindric, tried to sneak through a narrow gap between Hemric and William Byron. Cindric made contact with both trucks, causing major damage to the rear of Hemric’s truck.
Hemric’s team was once again able to repair his truck and stay on the lead lap. However, the damage was too severe and the only chance for him to continue in the Chase was to win. Hemric took the checkered in 11th, but was still 13-points behind Matt Crafton, who held the final position to move on to the Round of Six.
Hemric was disappointed but looked forward to being a spoiler for the rest of the year.
“The effort was second-to-none. I can’t thank all of these Brad Keselowski Racing guys for doing everything they could to salvage the best day we could with what we had. We were just part of a lot of very unfortunate situations there that we couldn’t avoid or couldn’t miss. One you can probably rebound. Two you can rebound from, but the third one definitely put us in a bad situation. It’s not from a lack of effort. I’m just really proud of these guys. I hate we couldn’t win a race earlier than this and get locked in, but now we’ve got a couple more to go win.”
After Grant Enfinger played the role of spoiler at Talladega, both Hemric and Nemechek will look to make it three non-Chasers winning in a row when the series goes to Martinsville Speedway for the Alpha Energy Solutions 200.