Former Xfinity Series champion Joe Nemechek has announced his return to NASCAR at Daytona. He will compete alongside his son, John Hunter, for Sam Hunt Racing in the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola, with the pair racing against each other for the first time since 2019.
John Hunter, a truck series Playoff favorite, already races part-time in the Xfinity Series for Sam Hunt racing driving the 26 Toyota Supra. His father Joe will drive the team’s part-time number 24 entry.
Joe said getting back behind the wheel of an Xfinity car took “no convincing at all,” adding, “if there’s an opportunity to be behind the wheel, I’m going to be there, doesn’t matter what it is.”
“Sam’s a good guy, I’ve known him for a few years now, and I know he went out of his way to get John Hunter involved in his program and this opportunity came up, so this all got put together really quick,” he explained.
It’s not the first time Joe has raced his son, though. The two have competed together in 29 truck series races, 13 Xfinity races, and 3 Cup Series races. They last raced at Phoenix in the Xfinity Series in 2019.
“This is a really cool deal, excited to have Joe: he’s a guy that I grew up watching and admiring and to be his car owner is a little bit surreal but it’s really special,” team owner Sam Hunt said.
“Every time we run more than one car, the stress of it is only matched by the excitement,” said owner Sam Hunt. But it is part of the plan. “Our long-term goal is to grow the program into a multi-car program, and we’re just trying to go about it the right way,” he added.
John Hunter’s 26 car will carry a unique Freedom 13 paint scheme, honoring the thirteen soldiers who were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan. “It’s special to be able to honor them and represent them and the foundation to help with veterans living a successful life in the civilian world,” he said. “I think it’s even more special that we will be racing in Daytona on August 26th, a year to the day.”
— Joseph Srigley (@joe_srigley) August 17, 2022
Joe Nemechek said his goal is to do “whatever it takes to get to the end. Once we get to the end, then it’s fair game for everybody, but the biggest thing is just getting to the end.”
John Hunter said that he plans “to be a teammate” and push his father to victory if that’s what it takes. But he offered a caveat: “I think we can both agree if we’re way out in the lead and we can race each other to the finish line then we’ll do that.”
As for whether this is his last race, Joe said, “I have no idea if it’s going to be the last time, I hope not. I’m still a racer, I still have that in my blood. I haven’t stopped and hopefully I’m not going to stop any time soon.”
His son agrees. “I highly doubt that this will be his last race in NASCAR,” John Hunter said.
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