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John Hunter Nemechek Finishes Career-Best Sixth at Bristol with LEGACY MOTOR CLUB

John Hunter Nemechek put forward a convincing performance in Sunday's Food City 500, finishing top-five in both stages and coming home a career-best sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway.


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It was the hand that we were dealt today, and we played the cards right.

John Hunter Nemechek, after a sixth-place run at Bristol

In recent weeks, the lights-out dominance for Toyota has been among the most prevalent storylines in the NASCAR Cup Series, accentuated by consecutive wins for Joe Gibbs Racing via Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin.

As far as Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is concerned, JGR continues to lead the charge, as is expected for an organization of that caliber, which has been a staple of the manufacturer's program for 15-plus years.

That major presence at the top of the heap can make it easy to overlook the other branches in Toyota's program, 23XI Racing and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, who have each showcased solid speed in the opening five weeks of 2024.

Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway afforded John Hunter Nemechek, the son of 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion Joe Nemechek, the chance to emerge from those shadows, after placing his No. 42 Toyota Camry XSE at the front of the pack and maintaining that position throughout the entire afternoon.

After starting 26th, the Mooresville, North Carolina native spent 440 of 500 laps - 88.2% of the race - inside the top-15, which included a significant stint of the event running inside the top five, where the second-year driver recorded 13 much-needed stage points.

Nemechek's 440 laps inside the top-15 during Sunday's 500-lap contest is the highest single-race total since Maury Gallagher joined the team's ownership group at the start of 2022 -- first known as Petty GMS Motorsports and now LEGACY MOTOR CLUB.

In the end, when the dust had settled on a chaotic Food City 500 at Bristol, Nemechek brought his Dollar Tree-sponsored Toyota Camry XSE home in sixth place, a career-best result for the 26-year-old driver, and his second top-10 in the first five races of the year.

"The car is in one piece and finished sixth. Solid day and we needed that. We finished top-five in both stages," Nemechek said after the race. "I was joking with the guys that it's just an oversized Pensacola with tire wear."

"I grew up short track late model racing -- places where you had to manage tire wear until the end of the run. We were able to do so," he added. "My guys gave me a great Dollar Tree Toyota Camry XSE all day, and everyone at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB worked hard. We were able to finish top-five in both stages and finish sixth overall. Great points day. We definitely needed that as a team.”

While it's still early days in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Nemechek and LEGACY MOTOR CLUB will need to have more strong runs, like the one had on Sunday, if they are to compete for a post-season berth.

For the time being, the 10-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner is still very much in the fight, sitting 15th in point standings with a 14-point buffer on the cutline heading to the series' first road course event of 2024 at Circuit of The Americas.

Image Courtesy of Nigel Kinrade, LAT, Courtesy of Toyota Racing

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