NASCAR playoff favorite hooked in right-rear by non-playoff driver at Martinsville Speedway
Today, the NASCAR Truck Series is racing at Martinsville Speedway. The half-mile short track is the final playoff elimination race ahead of next week’s championship race.
Watch the video of the John Hunter Nemechek crash below.
A pair of three name drivers bumped heads on the short track of Martinsville Speedway. Hear from the driver after the crash below.
John Hunter Nemechek entered Martinsville Speedway +36 to the playoff cutline. He’s one of the favorites to win the title and looked to by an easy lock as one of the four championship drivers to advance into next week’s race.
In stage one and stage two, Nemechek didn’t fall further than 3rd. He sat in a battle for the race lead.
However, with several cautions late in stage two, many drivers pitted. Nemechek pitted with the rest of the leaders at the start of stage three, yet 10 trucks stayed out as they were now on a different strategy.
On the restart, Nemechek was shoved out of line. He fell well outside the top 20 as he gathered it up.
John Hunter Nemechek vs Austin Wayne Self
Nemechek was climbing his way through the field with a much faster truck than the cars around him. He clashed with non-playoff driver Austin Wayne Self along the way.
On lap 131 of 200, Nemechek got into Wayne Self in turn one. Self chased it up the track but Nemechek lifted and let him save it as Self got loose off turn two.
Heading into turn three, Nemechek looked under Self. However, as they approached the corner, Self turned dead left and hooked Nemechek in the right rear.
Nemechek was sent sent hard into the outside wall. His championship run was at risk as the truck wouldn’t re-fire.
Nemechek asked for a push back to the pit lane so he could stay in the race. However, the front wheels were damaged enough that Nemechek couldn’t steer the car back to the pits.
Nemechek bounced the car off the wall with a push from the tow truck. He desperately attempted but the AMR officials required him to get out of the truck as they put it on the hook.
Nemechek’s race is over.
John Hunter Nemechek comments
“I don’t know. He shouldn’t be out here,” John Hunter Nemechek told Fox Sports after exiting the infield care center.
“If he’s just going to hook somebody in the right rear and turn them in the fence, he shouldn’t be out here and NASCAR should definitely look at that. You gotta have respect and obviously, he doesn’t have that.”
“Hopefully we make it into the final four and we’ll have something for them at Phoenix.”
The race is ongoing. Nemechek will finish 39th. He sits +6 on the cutline as the laps come to a close.
Austin Wayne Self comments
“I have no idea. I was turning into the corner, it’s just Martinsville,” Austin Wayne Self told Bob Pockrass after the race.
“Everybody’s fighting for the same real estate. I didn’t know who it was as I turned in.”
“It wasn’t anything against anybody. Just a bad judgement call on my part. At the end of the day, I’m racing for the same thing here at Martinsville. We could have been a little more conservative maybe.”
“I had no idea who it was. So, it’s not like I turned left on purpose, just to wreck him personally. It could have been anybody looking inside me there.”
“I gotta go to the dirt race but thank you,” Self ended the questions.
Update: Nemechek narrowly advances into championship round after a wild finish at Martinsville.