Joe and John Hunter Nemechek to mark first father-son Cup race since 2005 at Texas

by Justin Nguyen

Assuming no last-second changes, Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will see a battle of father and son. On Thursday, the race entry list was updated to include Joe Nemechek in the #15 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Premium Motorsports. With son John Hunter Nemechek in the #36 Ford Mustang of Front Row Motorsports, the two will face off in Monster Energy Cup Series competition for the first time. It will also be the first father vs. son in a Cup event in nearly fifteen years.

In September, Joe ran his first Cup race since 2015 when he finished thirty-first in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He ran three more races with Premium as the playoffs began, finishing thirty-fourth, thirty-first, and thirtieth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval, and Dover International Speedway. “Front Row Joe”, as he is nicknamed, has four career Cup wins in a career that has spanned over two decades.

On Tuesday, FRM announced Matt Tifft, the regular driver of the #36, would miss the remainder of the 2019 season after suffering a seizure prior to the First Data 500 at Martinsville Raceway. John Hunter was revealed as his replacement for the year’s final three Cup races. Currently in his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series with GMS Racing, where he was eliminated from the playoffs after round one, the AAA Texas 500 will be his first Cup race.

The father/son duo have participated in the same national series races before, with Joe racing in eight Xfinity races in 2019. Before John Hunter moved up to NASCAR’s second tier, he ran in the Truck Series for the family’s NEMCO Motorsports, with Joe occasionally partnering him in a second truck.

Although it has occurred in NASCAR’s lower series on various occasions, Sunday’s Texas race will be the first to feature a father and son racing against each other in a Cup event since the 2005 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Bobby Hamilton Sr. and Jr. finished thirtieth and thirty-ninth, respectively. Bobby Sr. was running what would be his final career premier series start, while his son was still in his Cup rookie year.

In 2014, Dave and Ryan Blaney attempted to do the same in the 5-hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway. Ryan made his Cup début with Team Penske, but Dave failed to qualify with Randy Humphrey Racing.

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