If there was any doubts about the future of NASCAR, those doubts are shattered each weekend by the Camping World Truck Series as once again, a young crop of drivers continued to impress. While Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch took the top-two spots, the rest of the top-five was swept by the youth of series.
18-year-old John Hunter Nemechek picked up his best career finish, finishing third after running as high as second in the closing laps of the UNOH 200.
“We had an up-and down night,” he admitted post-race. “We took four tires on the pit stop and never pitted again. I didn’t think we were going to be able to make it back up through the field. Those guys all took two tires and it was really hard to pass on the bottom. The set that we put on was a really tight set. You had to run the top, and it’s what it was. You had to get all of your positions on the restart. I’m kind of glad that we went back green there. The top-side rolled pretty good which was good, and an advantage for us. Got to give it to my crew chief. I didn’t think the call was worth it. We finished third and got beat by tires.”
In the late stages after a restart with 34 laps to go, it looked as though Nemechek would have a good shot at winning his first career race, running second and chasing after Matt Crafton. However, Ryan Blaney was even quicker than Nemechek and made the pass, bumping him back to third.
“I thought we had something for Crafton,” Nemechek commented. “I knew Blaney was coming there at three tenths a lap. You just had to race smart there at the end. You wanted to win, you wanted to keep him behind you, but he was going to get by you one way or another – whether move you or wreck you. You had to be smart with how you were going to race him and my crew chief just said let him go, and that’s what we did, and got beat by it.”
Nemechek was then able to maintain his spot despite a late-race green-white-checkered restart.
Daniel Hemric finished fourth, continuing his strong rookie season with NTS Motorsports. He now has a pair of top-fives and eight top-10s in 13 races.
“We had a really fast Chevrolet tonight,” Hemric commented. “We had a good truck all night and wanted to come down pit road to make one more adjustment, but track position was key. We made positive gains all weekend. It was great to get a top-five for Brennan Newberry in the 125th start for NTS.”
Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five, finishing fifth for his first career top-five finish in the Camping World Truck Series.
While the veterans continue to prove they have what it takes, youth is certainly showing that they’re just as strong at each turn on the schedule.
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – Indiana racing legend and five-time Brickyard champion Jeff Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car to kick off the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500, on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana, is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He won the first NASCAR race in the history of the famed 2.5-mile oval – the 1994 Brickyard 400 – and has won four more times, including last year. His 2014 victory made him the first five-time Brickyard champion and the only five-time winner of a major race on the IMS oval.
“Indy is hallowed ground for racers like me and I couldn’t be more thrilled to drive the Corvette Z06 pace car around the track that helped drive my success over the years,” Gordon said. “The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most celebrated races of the year and an event I always dreamed of racing while growing up in California and in nearby Pittsboro. I’ve won five NASCAR races at IMS and the track will always be a special place for me, so to be able to participate in such a historic day will be something I remember for the rest of my life.”
Race fans can follow Jeff Gordon and his Corvette Z06 pace car experience on Twitter at #JGPace2Race.
Gordon’s drive will mark the 13th time a Corvette has been the official pace car, dating to 1978, and the 26th time a Chevrolet has led the pack for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Corvette has served as the pace car more than any other vehicle in the race’s history.
“Jeff is a great choice to lead this year’s starting 33 drivers in the Indianapolis 500 to the green flag,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Jeff has such a strong connection to the state of Indiana and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his appearance in the Corvette Z06 pace car reinforces Chevrolet’s important place in the past, present and future of the Indianapolis 500. We also look forward to seeing him back here on July 26, to see if he can make it six wins in the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard.”
With 650 supercharged horsepower, a seven-speed manual transmission and a track-capable chassis system, Gordon will have no trouble keeping in front of the race field in the production-spec Corvette Z06. Featuring an Arctic White exterior and Adrenaline Red interior, only its unique Indy graphics package and safety strobe lights distinguish it from other production models.
Like Gordon, Chevrolet has a long, shared heritage with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500 Mile Race, and the Chevrolet brothers – company co-founder Louis, Arthur and Gaston – all competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.
“It’s great to have Jeff Gordon serve as this year’s pace car driver,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “He is a true champion who has earned the respect and admiration of competitors and race fans alike. It will be very special to have Jeff lead the Indy 500 field to the green flag, behind the wheel of the most powerful and capable production car ever from Chevrolet – on a day he’ll also be competing in the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte.”
In addition to its frequent use as a pace car in the Indianapolis 500, official partner Chevrolet is the only car to ever pace the Brickyard 400.
I don’t usually type listener remarks…..but I am taking exception to this…
I received this email…it shows the passion our listeners have regarding Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart is known to be a hot head. He’s got out of his car on many occasions. Maybe not on a dirt course? I’ve watched the video multiple times and it sickens me. Sad! Yes, I realize Ward got out of car, but why did Stewart pick up speed coming out of the corner on a YELLOW and hit him? And why did Stewart originally thought it was okay to race at Watkins Glen this afternoon with the caption as “business as usual”? Ugh!
Again, you should never get out of your car during a race with a hot head and extremely frustrated! I think the rules need to be changed as a result of this incident.
Note: I’m confident Stewart didn’t mean to kill him, but he did. Things need to change as a result of this. Please, please don’t allow this type of incident happen again. Extremely tragic and avoidable!
Thoughts and comments?