John Hunter Nemechek, the 18-year-old son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Joe Nemechek, picked up his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in Saturday’s American Ethanol e15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Nemechek stretched his last tank of fuel to the finish when many other frontrunners ran out in the closing laps, taking the victory over Tyler Reddick, Timothy Peters, Daniel Suarez and Johnny Sauter.
Nemechek, who is running a limited schedule this season for a team owned by his father, picked up the win in his 23rd career truck start after leading just the final two laps.
The second-generation NASCAR driver was running second behind Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson when Larson ran out of gas, handing the top spot to Nemechek, who later thanked his father for all of his help through the years.
“He has everything invested in me and he believes in me,” John Hunter said during post-race interviews. “Without him, none of this would be possible today.”
The lead changed hands 11 times among seven drivers, and there were three cautions for a total of 23 laps.
The most dramatic incident of the day occurred when Mason Mingus was going too fast and missed the entrance to pit road, hitting a cone and then going completely airborne for a split second as his truck bounced up in the air.
Mingus’ vehicle came to rest on all four wheels and no one was injured. The incident led to a lengthy delay in the action, however, and left the driver apologetic.
“I don’t know what really happened,” Mingus said during a live interview on FS2. “I guess I tried to get in the pits too hot. I’m not really sure. The grass was really wet. I didn’t need to tear up a truck like that. That was a bad mistake. That was about as bad as it gets.”
The craziness continued later when driver Daniel Hemric was coming too fast down pit road, and ran into his jackman.
Sixth-place finisher Erik Jones remained the series points leader. Reddick is now second, 10 points out of first, with two-time and reigning series champion Matt Crafton just a point behind Reddick in third.
After the race, several prominent Sprint Cup Series drivers used Twitter to offer congratulations to Nemechek on getting his first win in one of NASCAR’s national series.