John Nemechek (March 12, 1970—March 21, 1997, born in Lakeland, Florida), was a race car driver. The kid brother of five-time Sprint Cup winner Joe Nemechek, John followed his brother into racing, running his first race at the age of twelve in an 80 class dirtbike race. After a quick progression to the 250cc class, John moved onto mini-stock cars, where he raced against his brother, and eventually late-model stocks.
Racing wasn't John's only skill. He served as the front-tire changer on Joe's pit crew, and was on Joe's 1992 Naitonwide Series Championship winning team. Still, John wanted to race in NASCAR like Joe was, but faced obstacles due to his limited experience. Fortunately, NASCAR created a new top series, the Craftsman Truck Series, and John began running the series immediately. In the first year of competition, John ran 16 races and had two top-ten finishes. He followed that up with two more top-tens in 1996 and a thirteenth place finish in points, running a single truck he built himself titled The War Wagon under his own team, Chek Racing, Inc.
On March 16, 1997, John was running a Truck race at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex when with 25 laps to go, he suddenly lost control of his truck and slammed into the Turn 2 wall, suffering major head injuries. John clung to life over the next five days before finally succumbing on March 21st. The loss shocked the NASCAR community. Joe was able to pay tribute to his brother by winning a Busch Series race in that November at the same track (which had been overhauled with a reconfiguration, turning the track into a true oval with six degrees of banking, eliminating the rectangular configuration used in March) that took his brother's life, and also naming his son John Hunter after his late brother.
|Joe Nemechek | John Nemechek|