John Hunter Nemechek competes in a different kind of race

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 12: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers John Hunter (L) and Joe Nemechek speak to the media during the 2015 NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 12: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers John Hunter (L) and Joe Nemechek speak to the media during the 2015 NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Who knew an Ironman Triathlon is a contact sport?

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title contender John Hunter Nemechek found that out quickly when he competed in his first half-triathlon last Sunday in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Covering 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and racing, Nemechek completed the course in 4 hours, 53 minutes, 26 seconds, beating his goal time of five hours. He was fourth in the 18-24 age group and 146th overall in a field of 1,736 competitors.

“The swimming was probably my most difficult part,” Nemechek said. “Swimming in the ocean, we had the tide with us, pushing us, so it was a fast swim, but it was brutal – swimming over people, people swimming over you, getting kicked in the face, getting kicked in the chest.

“No one cares. You’re all going for the same real estate. You can kind of compare it to Martinsville, beating and banging and going at it.”

Once he got past the swim, Nemechek excelled.

“You could tell who had different disciplines,” he said. “Luckily, I was good on the run and the bike. The swim can kill your time, but I definitely think the bike and the run is what you have to focus on.

“That’s kind of what I did, and I hauled the mailed on both. We were able to make up some time at the end.”

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