John Hunter Nemechek talks about how his 2017 victories changed everything for him

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John Hunter Nemechek talks with Kaitlyn Vincie about how his victories at Gateway and Iowa in 2017 changed the course of his career.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight is his night. Nemechek wins at Gateway.

ANNOUNCER: They've run so much better than the results have shown, but that win right there will get him to the playoffs.

KAITLYN VINCIE: And this time a year ago, you won at Gateway and you were very emotional in that victory lane celebration.

- Yeah, I knew all the hard work would pay off, so this an awesome Father's Day present for dad here [INAUDIBLE]. And not knowing how many more races we're going to get to this year, this definitely means a lot.

We had sponsorship for halfway through the year last year to get us up to Gateway. And after that, our plans were undecided. I think we only had five or six employees, including myself and dad working at the shop. To beat the teams that have the sponsorship backing and almost unlimited funds, it definitely is tough. And we were able to pull off that win, and that kind of set the tone for that.

KAITLYN VINCIE: Then you went out the next week, and you won again.

ANNOUNCER: Back to back. John Hunter Nemechek wins at Iowa!

ANNOUNCER: It's so awesome to see that team have success.

KAITLYN VINCIE: What was that moment like for you?

- Uh, unreal to finally check that one off the list. But really, to win back to back, it was an unreal moment. Being in victory lane, being with dad, that was very special.

- I see him with you pretty much every single weekend, so what has it been like having him kind of by your side through this whole process?

- He's been a great mentor, a great boss. Actually, the first time I wrecked a racecar, it sat on jack stands, and we were going to go to the racetrack the next week to test, and we went to the shop, and it was still sitting on jack stands wrecked. So I guess we're not going? Yeah. And dad goes, well, you never came out of the shop, you never laid your hands on it, so I told the guys not to work on it until you came out here. So I definitely think that that was a life lesson. If something goes wrong or you mess something up, to go and fix it, for sure. But know to do it 100% the first time and not to ever have someone ask you to do something. Just jump in and do it.

KAITLYN VINCIE: That's pretty unique-- to have the driver hands on with the trucks and with the cars.

- I think over the past few years, just being in the shop, working with the guys, talking to them, creating that relationship and bond, I definitely think that helps from a communication standpoint. It pumps them up just from being in there, knowing how much I care about it, how much I want the same thing that they do. And that's to win races and to run up front.

KAITLYN VINCIE: And do you think some of those wins kind of helped lead you to this point, with Ganassi now running the Xfinity cars?

- They definitely can't hurt. It's been great, tell you the honest truth-- to have two teammates that are really good in the sport right now that are up front each and every week when they run the Xfinity car or Cup car. It's great to be able to go to them and ask them questions about the same package.

KAITLYN VINCIE: So long term for you, definitely, you want to be in a Cup car, right?

- Yes, that is the primary goal-- is to be in a Cup car, to be able to win races and win championships. And if you have the right team and right group around you, it definitely can happen.