NASCAR Cup PR Ford Performance NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek Las Vegas Media Availability

Ford Performance NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek Las Vegas Media Availability

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Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Friday, February 21, 2020
EVENT: Pennzoil 400 Media Availability

JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 38 Berry’s Bullets Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING BACK TO THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS? “I definitely think for myself and Front Row, we were excited to get through Daytona with a decent finish and get back to a mile-and-a-half. Having run two mile-and-a-half races last year, we kind of knew the equipment that we had initially from last year, and over the offseason we downsized from three cars to two cars and we’re trying to make our program better. We want to continue to grow the Front Row Motorsports organization and get it to where it can be a contender each and every week that we’re at the race track. I feel like our speed from first practice definitely shows some improvements that we’ve made over the offseason. We still have a little ways to go, but I feel good about where we’re at currently and I’m looking forward to continuing the progress that we’ve made so far. I definitely don’t think that this weekend we’ll stop working our equipment by making it better every lap that we turn.”

HOW MUCH HAS YOUR DAD HELPED YOU AT THIS LEVEL? “For myself transitioning from one manufacturer to another this year I lost the availability to be able to work with Josh Wise, who was pretty much my driver coach the last two years. I was kind of his little prodigy two years ago, so definitely kind of know the basics that we were working on and the things that we would look at on a weekly basis and being able to have dad here at the race track this weekend and at Daytona last weekend and being able to look over data and have him kind of do the same thing that Josh was and me kind of teach him that way it’s definitely sort of been a long process, but just having him here and he has so much experience. He’s been there and done it, so I’m able to lean on him quite a bit with questions and different things that I’m feeling. I know that whole practice session he had his headset on in the garage listening and he was actually a part of the debrief when I got out of the car post-practice, so he’s been a huge part of my career and he continues to be a big part of it as well.”

HOW HAS MICHAEL MCDOWELL HELPED YOU? “Michael has been really good to be able to talk to and ask questions as well as David Ragan. David last weekend in Daytona was a big help to me and I was able to reach out to him and ask him questions about different practice sessions. The long weekend schedules, not so much here or most of the race tracks that we go to in the Cup Series now, but to kick off the year at Daytona there are so many practice sessions, you have a qualifying session, you have the Duels and you’re there for a week-and-a-half, so it’s easy for a rookie to kind of get lost in what your focus is each practice session, so being able to lean on him quite a bit and just ask questions. Experience is everything in this sport and I’m able to take something away from each one of my teammates and it’s definitely gonna help me as a driver and continue to help me grow.”

JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK CONTINUED — DO YOU HAVE A RYAN NEWMAN STORY? “Ryan has been a really good friend of mine for a long time. Being able to grow up at MRO I used to take him and Krissie chapel bulletins every single weekend, so they’ve kind of seen me grow up in their eyes and when I had turned 16 and was able to start our truck team and run all the short tracks, I wasn’t allowed to run the mile-and-a-halves quite yet, so Ryan ran a couple races for us in our Nemco Motorsports 8 truck and I was able to kind of listen to him and talk to him and gain some valuable knowledge and still be able to ask him questions, being able to text him and call him and still have that relationship is pretty special in my mind. I’m just glad it’s a miracle he was able to walk out of the hospital 48 hours afterwards and seeing him with his two girls being able to walk out made me smile that’s for sure. I’m glad that he’s OK.”

WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500? “My first Daytona 500 was a very amazing experience. One of the things that a lot of Cup drivers and my dad have told me about the Daytona 500 is make sure that you take time for yourself to take it all in and it’s very hard to do that with all the hype and everything going on. To run my first Daytona 500 when it’s Jimmie Johnson’s last full-time season and his last Daytona 500, maybe, to have the President of the United States there was really special. There was so much hype around the race. I mean, there’s so much history there, but to be able to be a part of all that. I think the coolest part for me was being able to go through driver intros. It’s something I’ve never experienced like that before, so being able to take that moment in and be there with my fiancé and family and friends and sponsors and the whole team and everyone that has helped get me it was a very special moment for myself and my family.”

THAT WAS PROBABLY THE LONGEST RACE YOU’VE BEEN IN. “Yeah, definitely the longest 48-hour race I’ve been a part of, but the whole race was very special to me. I think the longest race before that I had been a part of was my Cup debut last year at Texas, another 500-mile race, so luckily I was able to experience that last year rather than jumping right in and having to go into a 500-mile race, but it was a lot of fun. There are definitely times where you want to get up there and race and lead laps, but at the same time you’re there for the end goal of having a shot to win it. You must first finish to be able to contend for the win, but it was a pretty special day.”

HOW WAS IT TO BE THE TOP FINISHING ROOKIE? “There was a lot of hype coming into it about the big three from the XFINITY Series. Well, I feel like it’s the big three and what about me? I feel like it’s gonna be a battle down to the end for Cup rookie of the year. It’s whoever makes the least amount of mistakes and has the best runs through the year and I definitely feel we can be a contender for that. Given different teams and different organizations we all kind of have our own goals as a team for what we expect for the year, but you never know what can happen. Hard work and never give up attitude sometimes outweighs other things.”

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH FRONT ROW THIS SEASON? “I think the biggest goals for this team is to continue to grow over the year. We want to make this organization a contending organization and with different changes coming in the future who knows how that’s gonna happen, but at the same time we downsized from three cars to two cars over the offseason and trying to put our race horses in the right places to make our cars faster each weekend that we go to the race track and having the right personnel in place. Luckily, the personnel that we have in place I was able to work with for three races last year to kind of get my feet wet, so we’re not kicking off the year trying to get communication flowing. That communication has already been established and it continues to grow, so a lot of growing on our end, a lot of learning for myself and our team, but we feel like we’re in a good position to continue to make everything happen at Front Row Motorsports and continue to have goals to try and win races and finish the best that we can each and every week. You’ve got to run all the laps and gain as much experience for myself as a driver to make myself better as well.”

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