John Hunter Nemechek took a chance on himself last year and it paid off. Instead of competing for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, he went part time and drove select races for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series too. It paid off.
Nemechek, 21, found a full time ride in the XFINITY Series for 2019 with GMS Racing. Like Ryan Preece, Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman and others, betting on himself led to a brighter future.
The second generation driver will pilot the No. 23 Chevrolet on a full time basis next season. He takes over the ride that was left open by the departing driver Spencer Gallagher. In turn, Gallgaher will take over a managerial role of his families business.
Nemechek, contested in 18 XFINITY Series races last season for CGR in their No. 42 Chevrolet. In those races, he scored one pole and six top-five finishes, including his first Series win on Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Gallagher and the entire GMS Racing organization has presented to me to be able to run full time in 2019,” Nemechek said in a team release. “The results that GMS Racing showed last year in their NASCAR Xfinity Series program were impressive. Their goal is to create a championship-caliber team, like their Truck Series program, and I believe that we can achieve that goal in the 2019 season.
Nemechek, has also won at least one Truck race in each of the last four seasons including this past March in Martinsville. He has seven NASCAR wins overall, six in the Truck Series.
The ride he’s taking over ran all 33 races a year ago but had eight drivers get seat time. Gallagher, won in Talladega and was playoff eligible but was suspended the week after for a violating the substance abuse policy. He was reinstated in July but didn’t run full time after.
Chase Elliott drove the car for seven races with his Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott driving it in Road America. GMS Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter made two starts in the GMS No. 23, while AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley and Casey Roderick also took the wheel for one start each.