John Hunter Nemechek joins TRICON for Las Vegas, Atlanta
Taylor Gray does not turn eighteen until 25 March, coincidentally the same date as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series‘ fourth race at Circuit of the Americas. Since his youth disqualifies him from racing larger speedways, his #17 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was driven by Sammy Smith in the opener at Daytona, while the team announced Thursday that John Hunter Nemechek will fill in for the next two rounds at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Nemechek was among the Truck Series’ top drivers during his return to the series in 2021 and 2022 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, winning seven races and the 2021 regular season championship. In 2022, he finished fifth in the standings with a pair of victories. He was elevated to the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing for 2023 and nearly won the first race of the year at Daytona, only being edged out before the caution came out for a wreck on the final lap.
He was previously a Truck regular for his family team in the 2010s, including running the full 2015 and 2016 schedules and finishing eighth in points both years. He has thirteen Truck wins to his name including at Atlanta in 2016 and Las Vegas in 2021. However, Atlanta has since been reconfigured to resemble more superspeedway-like racing; Nemechek won a stage at the inaugural Truck race on the new course and helped push KBM team-mate Corey Heim—also now a TRICON driver—to the win but fell back and placed twenty-fourth.
Smith finished fourteenth at last Friday’s Daytona race in substitute duty.