John Hunter Nemechek takes NASCAR Truck race at Gateway

John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet Silverado, and his father Joe Nemechek pose for a photo after winning the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday in Madison, Illinois. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2017

John Hunter Nemechek takes NASCAR Truck race at Gateway

MADISON, Illinois: John Hunter Nemechek gave his dad and truck owner Joe Nemechek an early Father’s Day present.
The 20-year-old driver took the lead with four laps remaining and pulled away to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“Today was a very special day for us,” Joe Nemechek said. “I’ve tutored him the best I know how and tried to teach him all the right values and it’s up to him to do it on the race track. He’s been able to take it and take it to the next level.”
The younger Nemechek, who qualified second, grabbed the top spot from Matt Crafton in Turns 1 and 2 on the 156th lap and held off pole-sitter Chase Briscoe.
Nemechek, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet, raced to his first victory of the season and fourth in the series. Joe Nemechek is a former NASCAR driver, who raced Saturday night but finished 28th in the field of 30 trucks.
“I was hoping there would be a caution there with 10 or 12 laps remaining because I thought we had the truck to beat if we had track position,” Nemechek said. “We made the call on the green flag pit stop to take two tires and I felt like that was the call to make when the guys in front of us took no tires and we were right behind them. We were running them down.”
Nemechek made his final pit stop of the night on Lap 131 and took two tires and fuel even though the team had a minor problem with their jack release during the stop.
That did not prevent Nemechek from making his eventual winning move although he had to work for his way through the field as he came out in fifth place.
Nemechek slowly worked his way to the front moving into fourth with 20 laps left. He was third when the only caution flag of the night came out when Josh Reaume stopped on pit lane after running out of fuel.
On the restart on lap 155, Nemechek took the lead over Crafton and never looked back.
“I got a run on Crafton and was able to get by him,” Nemechek said. “I just tried to run a smart race. We’ve had really fast trucks this year. Hopefully our luck has changed now.”
Nemechek led 48 of the 160 laps and beat Briscoe by 1.635 seconds. Series points leader Johnny Sauter finished third, followed by Crafton and Grant Enfinger. Defending race champion Christopher Bell wound up sixth.
Briscoe, who won the second of the two stages and led the most laps at 88, made a pit stop on lap 150 during the caution and took on four tires and fuel.
That stop pushed the rookie back to 13th but he ran out of time as he tried to catch Nemechek.
“The first two laps after the restart I had too much front brake in it and it kept locking the wheels up getting into (Turn) 1,” Briscoe said. “The amount of distance I lost cost us there in the end. It was tough and it would have been tough even with those first two laps (on the restart).
“I don’t know if we would have gotten the 8 (Nemechek), but I feel like we would have been so much closer than we were.”
Nemechek dominated the first part of the race lead the first 39 laps and he won the first of the two stages. But a slow pitstop dropped him to fifth as he gave up the lead to Briscoe as the second stage began.
Briscoe won the second stage, holding off Crafton, Nemechek, Grant Enfinger and Bell. After that only two drivers — Crafton (16 laps) and Justin Haley (three laps) held the point. Everything else belonged to either Nemechek or Briscoe.
There was only one official caution period in the race, on Lap 148 when Josh Reaume stopped on pit lane after running out of fuel. The race took 1 hour, 47 minutes, 18 seconds to complete and the average speed was 111.836 mph.


Champions League ready to resume, at long last

Robert Lewandowski, left, and Bayern Munich during their Marseille friendly ahead of the Champions League last 16 2nd leg against Chelsea. (Files/AFP)
Updated 2 min 14 sec ago

Champions League ready to resume, at long last

  • UEFA ‘confident’ no more delays despite virus cases among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla

PARIS: After an enforced hiatus of almost five months, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week in order to clear up the last remaining business in a troubled season.

Both competitions were frozen in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the continent, and while European football’s governing body acted swiftly to move Euro 2020 back a year, for a long time it was unclear how it would manage to complete its two landmark club competitions.
In the end the solution was to set up two mini tournaments bringing all teams together in one place from the quarterfinals onwards, with all ties being decided in one-off matches behind closed doors.
And so the Champions League will move to Lisbon for the “Final Eight” starting on Aug. 12 and ending with the final at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on Aug. 23.
The Europa League, meanwhile, will be played to a conclusion at a series of venues in western Germany, with the last eight beginning on Aug. 10 and the final in Cologne on Aug. 21.
“I believed it from the first moment,” said the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin recently when asked if he ever doubted it would be possible to play the tournaments to a conclusion. “You should always be optimistic, and if something like this crisis happens, you must have a plan ready. “At the present time, we will be playing matches without spectators until further notice. We will not take any risks.”
There is, though, no question of further changes being made to the formats despite concerns about an increase in Covid-19 cases in and around Lisbon, and more recent worries in Germany about a rise in cases there.
UEFA also recently insisted it was “confident” there would be no more delays despite cases of coronavirus emerging among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla. It is, in any case, now or never.
Indeed, the preliminary round of next season’s Champions League begins next Saturday, the same day Bayern Munich entertain Chelsea and Napoli visit Barcelona in their outstanding last 16 second legs.
Before that, Manchester City defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at home against Real on Friday as Pep Guardiola’s side target Champions League glory on the back of the club’s success at getting a two-year ban from the competition overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The winner of that tie will face Juventus or Lyon in the quarterfinals in Lisbon.
It is the Europa League which is first up, though, with the last 16 being completed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Two ties — Inter Milan against Getafe and Sevilla against Roma — will go ahead as one-off ties in Germany as the first legs were never played.
Six second legs will also be played with the winners heading to Germany for the last eight.
Among the ties to be completed is Manchester United’s against Austrian side LASK, which will be a formality for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team after they won 5-0 in the first leg in March.
Their form since the Premier League resumed in mid-June has been excellent and they have already sealed a place in the 2020-21 Champions League, but now they want to finish this never-ending season with a trophy.
“Now our focus is on the Europa League because this is a really good trophy and we want to win,” Bruno Fernandes told MUTV.
“I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.”
United, Europa League winners in 2017, could yet find themselves facing Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semifinals in Cologne on Aug. 16 should both teams get there.
Wolves entertain Greek champions Olympiakos on Thursday having drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Their campaign started more than a year ago now, with a 2-0 win over Northern Irish side Crusaders in the second qualifying round on July 25, 2019.
Extending it by another couple of weeks would do them no harm.