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John Hunter Nemechek goes to Truck Series, joins Kyle Busch Motorsports

Steve Letarte, Jeff Burton, and Dale Jarrett review the top storylines from the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season and look ahead to what the 2021 season has in store from a schedule, driver, and team perspective.

John Hunter Nemechek will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2021 with Kyle Busch Motorsports, the team announced Monday.

Nemechek, who recently announced he would not return to Front Row Motorsports in the Cup Series, will take over KBM’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra.

In a Monday Zoom call with reporters, the 23-year-old repeatedly cited the need to win races as a primary factor in joining KBM.

“When it comes down to it, winning never hurts,” said Nemechek, who earned six Truck Series victories with his family-owned NEMCO Motorsports team from 2015-2018.

“Winning can only help you and help your marketability. I want to win races. I’m here to win races. That’s ultimately what it came down to.

“I think being an experienced driver in the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series, and having one year of Cup underneath my belt, is definitely going to help as well.”

KBM hopes that background can help it regain the dominant form it once had in the Truck Series.

The organization’s 80 wins are the most in series history. It can also claim driver titles from current Cup drivers Erik Jones and Christopher Bell.

However, a KBM driver has not reached the Championship 4 over the last two seasons.

Noah Gragson, now in the Xfinity Series, made KBM’s most recent appearance in 2018. He finished second in points.

Enter Nemechek, who’s hungry to prove himself as a contender with the skills he learned from an intense rookie season at NASCAR’s top level.

“You’re racing so hard to run 20th-25th (in Cup),” he said. “In the Truck Series, you’re still racing hard to win races, but I feel like the competition is so much stiffer in the Cup Series. There’s so much experience in the Cup Series, and you’re racing against all these veterans who’ve been there for such a long time.

“For a rookie coming in last year with no practice and no qualifying, you had to adapt so fast. Most of the places we went last year, our first laps being turned in a Cup car were when the green flag flew.”

Nemechek is also anxious to work with two-time Cup Series champion Busch, who made his first seven Xfinity Series starts for NEMCO Motorsports back in 2003.

Busch has sometimes been hard on his young drivers. But for Nemechek, who comes in a little bit older, it’s a fair trade for learning under a future Hall of Famer.

“If I mess up, I hope Kyle holds me accountable,” he said. “I hope Kyle tells me how it is, straight to my face. I like that. I like when somebody tells me I messed up, so I can go back and fix it.

”... I want to learn. I want to be better. If you can learn one thing every single day, you can be better that day and the following.

“For myself, if Kyle wants to be that way, I’m all for it. But hopefully, he doesn’t have to be that way. Hopefully, we can go out and have a killer year.”