Sometimes a little extra experience is exactly what the doctor ordered.
That’s the case for John Hunter Nemechek, who will make his ARCA Menards Series debut Friday in the Dawn 150 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio (5 p.m. ET on FS1).
Nemechek, who competes for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is joining Venturini Motorsports to pilot the No. 55 Mobil 1 Toyota in order to gain a little extra experience at the challenging 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.
“I’m looking forward to running Mid-Ohio this weekend with Toyota and Venturini Motorsports, with Mobil 1 on board,” Nemechek said. “Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite road courses to go to, and being able to run two races there this weekend and get extra laps before the truck race is very valuable and a huge opportunity.
“Ready to go chase a couple checkered flags this weekend.”
Nemechek has one previous start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in NASCAR competition. It came in 2019, when he was competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for GMS Racing. He started 15th and finished 31st that day after being involved in a crash.
SURPRISE! John Hunter Nemechek will be joining Venturini Motorsports at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course THIS weekend!
— VenturiniMotorsports (@VenturiniMotor) July 5, 2022
The arrangement for Nemechek to join Venturini Motorsports for Friday’s race at Mid-Ohio was facilitated thanks to Toyota and TRD.
“Working with TRD opens the availability for us to work with some incredible young drivers,” Venturini Motorsports general manager Billy Venturini said. “He’s more experienced than most of the drivers when I get them. It’s a privilege to have John Hunter be a part of Venturini Motorsports, and hopefully we can bring home the win for Toyota.”
Nemechek is in the midst of his second season with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Last year, he won five races and finished the year ranked third in the championship standings.
This season, he already has one victory, which came at Darlington Raceway on May 6. He is hoping some extra laps Friday at Mid-Ohio will help him earn his second Truck Series victory of the season during Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 150.
Stuntman Stanton Barrett back for another round
Stanton Barrett is no stranger to danger or stock car racing.
The 49-year-old competitor from Bishop, California, has worked as a stuntman for years in addition to his time as a race car driver. These days he spends less time in a race car than he used to, but he still occasionally straps in to chase victories.
He’ll do that again this Friday, when he takes the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota in partnership with Fast Track Racing.
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Barrett has made starts in all three of NASCAR’s national divisions dating back to 1992, but he only has five previous ARCA Menards Series starts.
His most recent start came last season at Mid-Ohio, where he was also driving for Fast Track Racing. He started eighth and finished sixth, giving Barrett his fourth top-10 finish in five ARCA Menards Series starts dating back to his series debut in 1995 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Fan fest, hauler parade headlines pre-race festivities
Race fans who are in town Thursday in advance of the weekend of racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course are in for a treat.
The Menards location at 1999 Walker Lake Road in Ontario, Ohio, will host a Menards Fan Fest. The Fan Fest will take place in the Menards parking lot from 3-6 p.m. ET, with drivers available for autographs and photos from 4-6 p.m. ET.
At 7 p.m., the team transporters will then parade from Menards to the track, with the parade started by Ontario mayor Randy Hutchinson and led by police chief Tommy Hill.
The event will include several fan activities, including contests for a variety of prizes and tickets to Friday’s Dawn 150.
Advance discount tickets to the Dawn 150 will also be available for purchase Thursday during the Menards Fan Fest for $20 per ticket, a savings of $10 from the gate purchase price.
- Rajah Caruth, who has never raced at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leads the ARCA Menards Series standings entering Friday’s event. He leads Rev Racing teammate Nick Sanchez by five points and GMS Racing’s Daniel Dye by nine points.
- Nick Sanchez is the only driver who finished in the top five last year at Mid-Ohio who is returning for Friday’s Dawn 150. He finished fifth last season at the scenic Ohio road course.
- Clubb Racing will field two entires Friday at Mid-Ohio, with Rita Thomason making her second start of the year in the No. 03 while Casey Carden joins the team to make his series debut in the No. 3.
- Dale Quarterley, who finished third in the most recent ARCA Menards Series West road course event at Sonoma Raceway, will attempt his second start of the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season. He finished 12th in the opener at Daytona International Speedway.
- Six drivers are pulling double duty by competing in the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. They include the aforementioned Nemechek, Taylor Gray, Jack Wood, Blaine Perkins, Colby Howard and Kris Wright.