John Hunter Nemechek was satisfied after what he viewed as a successful debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Driving the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford, Nemechek started 29th, stayed out of trouble, and finished only one lap down to the leaders in 21st.
“It was a long day, but it wasn’t that long of a day,” he said after running 501 miles. “I felt like we had a pretty good car; we finished in front of all of our teammates, so that was good. It was a heck of a debut. I’ve been able to lean on David [Ragan] and Michael [McDowell] for a lot of information this weekend.
“We kept adjusting on it, making adjustments every stop just to see what the car would do, and I learned a lot as a driver today. So hopefully, we can take this and move on in the future and just better myself.”
Nemechek will also run ISM Raceway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Front Row tabbed him as Matt Tifft’s substitute driver after Tifft suffered a seizure at Martinsville Speedway, resulting in his being sidelined for the rest of the season on medical advice.
“It’s way cool to be out there and get the debut out of the way,” said Nemechek. “Wishing Matt a speedy recovery. I know it’s hard watching somebody fill your seat, I’ve been in that spot before, so it’s his seat, I’m just here to fill in for him these last three races.”
After finishing 25th in Stage 1 and 24th in Stage 2, Nemechek began a steady climb throughout the final stage. Awarded the lucky dog on lap 192, Nemechek was in the 21st position past the 250 lap mark and sat as high as 19th on lap 300.
“It was all about earning respect, staying out of the way,” said Nemechek. “Just trying to run our race, and that’s what we did. Only finished one lap down, so I’m pretty proud of that.”