Life moves fast for John Hunter Nemechek. His first trip to the race track was at two-weeks-old, but he waited to start his racing career until he was five. For the last 16 years, his life has been in motion. Now 20 years old, John Hunter races part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing and part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.
The son of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, former 1989 All PRO Super Series and 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion, John Hunter has always had a pretty good grip on the path he would take. Never one to shy away from competition, John Hunter played many contact sports at a young age, but he continued to return to the track. “I always knew I wanted to race,” says John Hunter, “but I just didn’t know what.” It was in 2010 that he switched to stock car competition, moving up to “late model” and “super late model” in 2012. At the age of 15, John Hunter would go on to win 15 of 18 races in the Allison Legacy Race Series, finishing as champion.
When John Hunter was 16, he transitioned to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Due to his age, he was only allowed to run ten races a year, but the experience was priceless. Now in his second full year, John Hunter is entering the playoffs as a veteran driver with much of his career still in front of him.
Racing week-in and week-out requires preparation. John Hunter pushes himself to the next level with two to three workouts a day, spending the rest of his time in the shop. It’s important “being hands-on and learning everything I can about the truck. Everything you can do physically and mentally helps you in a race car.”
With only five to six guys working full-time on John Hunter’s team, they’ve proven to be focused and experienced. Smaller than most NASCAR teams, he acknowledges that team effort is everything. “When you’re able to go to the racetrack and win, that feeling of being in Victory Lane motivates us more. I’m proud of all the hard work that goes into it and knowing how it pays off.”
Moving up and moving forward apply to both in and out of the car. “We’ve done well in the trucks,” John Hunter points out. “I think the next step is going to the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and then onto the NASCAR Cup Series in a couple years.”
Whether John Hunter is on or off the track, the focus is there. “Once the National Anthem is sung, and the prayer is done, it’s time to strap in. The smiles are off, and it’s time to get your game face on. When you’re racing, you don’t really have any other thought other than what you’re going to do to try and pass the guy in front of you.” Off the track, focus comes in the form of dedication. “If you put in enough hard work and you dream big enough, that dream will come true.”