After one season at NASCAR’s highest level, John Hunter Nemechek is returning to his national series roots. On Monday, Kyle Busch Motorsports announced he will drive the #4 Toyota Tundra for the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, marking his first full-time season in the series since 2017.
“Kyle and Samantha (Busch) with the support of Toyota have built an organization that has won races and championships on a consistent basis and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to carry on the winning tradition by getting back to victory lane in the Camping World Truck Series next year,” Nemechek said in a team statement. “I can’t thank the partners that have supported my career through the years enough for their continued support and I’m looking forward to building relationships with new partners this year.”
In 2020, Nemechek finished twenty-seventh in the Cup Series standings with Front Row Motorsports with three top tens and a best finish of eighth at both Talladega races. He announced his departure from the team last Monday after slightly over a year together.
Between his Truck and Cup stints, he ran the full 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule with GMS Racing, finishing seventh in points with nineteen top tens before the team folded their Xfinity program. His lone Xfinity win came the previous year with Chip Ganassi Racing on a part-time basis.
Nemechek began his national series career in the Trucks in 2013, racing sporadically through his first three years before bumping up to a full slate in 2016. He scored two consecutive eighth-place points finishes, with two wins apiece, before scaling back as he began his ascent through the NASCAR ladder. He has six career Truck wins, the last of which came in 2018.
His move to KBM will mark his first Truck Series action not for family-owned NEMCO Motorsports. In 2019 and 2020, with full-time campaigns at the higher levels, Nemechek shared the NEMCO truck with father Joe and various other drivers; the latter year saw him run three races with a best finish of sixth at Charlotte. Team owner Kyle Busch has also raced for NEMCO early in his career, when both drivers were members of the Hendrick Motorsports camp.
“I began my Xfinity Series career with NEMCO and I’ve had a long-running relationship with Joe and the Nemechek family, so it’s cool to see things come full circle with being able to sign John Hunter to race at KBM,” Busch commented. “John Hunter is a proven winner in the Camping World Truck Series, as well as the Xfinity Series, and someone who we are confident will be able to put the #4 Tundra up front on a consistent basis and compete for victories each and every race.
“Despite only being 23 years old, he has a lot of experience across all three series and with next year’s Truck Series schedule including a lot of events where it’s just show up and race, having an experienced driver in one of our full-time Tundras is going to be beneficial to our whole organization.”
With Nemechek taking over the #4, Raphaël Lessard‘s 2021 plans are uncertain, though he will likely remain in the Truck Series. In Lessard’s lone full Truck season with KBM, he finished twelfth with a win at Talladega.