Add John Hunter Nemechek’s name to the Sam Hunt Racing roster.
Nemechek, who competes full-time in the Camping World Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports, will make his debut in the No. 26 SHR Xfinity Series Toyota at Dover International Speedway on May 15.
Team owner Sam Hunt is thrilled to partner with the second-generation racer.
“I’m excited to have John Hunter come back to his roots and drive for our young team in 2021,” Hunt said. “He’s always been a mutual friend of mine, always been extremely friendly, and has always shown that he can maximize his equipment and represent his sponsors.
“Working with so many rookies this year, his experience and feedback will be invaluable to our program’s growth. I know he can help us just as much as we can help him, and I think it’s cool to see a guy like him so excited about joining our small team with intentions to improve it as a whole. The entire shop is extremely excited about it and I know he’ll be able to help us improve our cars throughout the year.”
Nemechek honed his racing skills with the family truck team starting at 16—and squeezed everything out of the underfunded operation that he could. When he turned 18 and was able to compete on larger tracks, Nemechek won his first truck race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2015—his first of six.
He was recruited by Chip Ganassi for a partial Xfinity Series run in 2018—and won in his 15th start. Nemechek finished seventh in his first full season in NXS while dabbling in Cup with Bob Jenkins’ Front Row Motorsports. His consistency earned Nemechek a full-time Cup ride with the team last year.
Nemechek’s desire to race competitively on a weekly basis drew him back to KBM and the truck series. His partnership with Hunt gives Nemechek additional opportunities to build Toyota’s footprint in the Xfinity Series.
“I’m so excited for the opportunity to be able to run some races for Sam Hunt,” Nemechek said. “It’s awesome to see what he’s done in such a short time, being such a young team owner in the sport.
“I think my experience and this team can accomplish a lot and I’m excited to see what happens. I can’t thank Sam, Toyota, and all of our partners enough for this opportunity and helping us put this together.”
Sam Hunt has elevated his racing program by forming a technical alliance with Toyota Racing Development and Joe Gibbs Racing engines. SHR kicked off the season with an eighth-place finish by Brandon Gdovic at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday—the No. 26 team’s first top finish since Hunt took full ownership of the program in 2019.
Kris Wright and Santino Ferrucci will also share driving duties this season. Andrew Abbott is currently the crew chief for the team.
“We are growing and learning so much every single day,” Hunt added. “We are youthful. We understand and are excited about the heavy workload ahead of us. Although there will be highs and lows this year, we are committed to operating with pure professionalism, class, and open minds.
“Like my hero, JD Gibbs, told me years ago, success is measured by how often I help others. I hope I can help others like they are helping me now.”