Race fans, the time has finally arrived! The 2024 season is here, and there are a load of changes to watch unfold along the way.
Welcome to The Underdog House, your stop for all things concerning the dark horse. Everyone loves an underdog, right? Well, this is where you can follow your favorite underdog and gain extra coverage of them off the TV cameras.
This weekend gave us a little taste of what’s to come, as NASCAR held its third rendition of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum (Feb. 3). Originally scheduled for Feb. 4, a looming storm forced NASCAR to quickly pivot and move the race to Saturday night, a decision that turned out to be successful.
While the superstars were the headliners, a few underdogs barked loudly during the weekend. So buckle up and enjoy the view behind the scenes of NASCAR’s underdog teams.
Top Dog: John Hunter Nemechek
A new era for both Legacy Motor Club and John Hunter Nemechek got off to a turbulent start that ultimately concluded in a rather smooth landing. For Legacy, it marked their first event under the Toyota banner while it was Nemechek’s first race as a full-time Cup driver in four seasons.
Nemechek marked his return by qualifying for the Clash’s main event, something his teammate Erik Jones was unable to do. With practice determining the 23-car lineup for the event, Nemechek slipped into the main event with a lap good enough for 21st.
As expected, there was going to be some rust for Nemechek as he made his return to the premier division, and it started quickly. He sat mired outside the top 20 for the first half of the event, and on a quarter-mile track, it takes no time for the leaders to catch the tail end of the pack.
The hole only seemed to deepen for Nemechek after falling two laps down, and he experienced more trouble following contact with Corey LaJoie that caused his No. 42 to spin.
And just when it looked like the hits might stop coming, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a “welcome back” message for him, pulling Nemechek’s window net down and sticking his head in the window during the halftime break – a break where traditionally, drivers remain in their car the entire time.
Despite one weight after the other being tossed on the Mooresville, N.C. native, things can change in a hurry at the LA Coliseum. Fortunately, it changed in…