John Hunter Nemechek Earns First-Career NASCAR Xfinity Series Win At Kansasby Hunter Thomas October 20, 2018 0 comments
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – John Hunter Nemechek earned his first-career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday after winning the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
A caution on lap 165 allowed Nemechek to rebound from a green-flag pit road mishap and pass race leader, Daniel Hemric on lap 171. Twenty-one-year-old Nemechek went on to lead the final 30 laps of Saturday’s race en route capturing the victory in only his 15th series start.
“When that caution came, I knew we had a chance,” Nemechek said. “Luckily Daniel and I raced each other hard and clean all day. We got the track position, and this thing was on rails at the end. Huge thank you to Mike Shiplett (crew chief) and all of the guys that work so hard. I feel like we’ve been contending for wins all year. We just haven’t pulled through. To check the first one off, that’s the hardest one to get, so hopefully we can go on. We’re racing for an owner’s championship in Homestead, so that’s awesome.”
Hemric, who started on the pole, held on to finish in the second position, 5.200 seconds behind Nemechek. The driver of the Richard Childress Racing No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet led a race high of 128 laps after being out in front of the field on five occasions. Hemric was the highest finishing NASCAR Playoff contender on Saturday.
NASCAR Playoff contender, Eillott Sadler finished third. Shane Lee finished fourth in only his 10th career series start. Tyler Reddick, also a NASCAR Playoff contender, rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Matt Tifft, Ryan Reed, Ty Majeski, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements.
While several NASCAR Playoff contenders had strong performances, three didn’t. On the first lap, Justin Allgaier slid up into Christopher Bell in Turn 2, causing a nine-car crash. Bell finished 37th, while Allgaier finished 38th. NASCAR Playoff contender, Austin Cindric was also caught up the accident as he finished 39th.
“It was odd,” Bell said. “We weren’t really up to speed yet and I was just kind of rolling around there. Obviously being on the inside makes you much for susceptible to getting loose. Just kind of driving around. I heard his (Justin Allgaier’s) motor lift, but I didn’t realize he was coming up the race track into me.”
Following the accident, Allgaier took the blame, saying that he just got loose while battling for position.
“I just got loose, unfortunately,” Allgaier said. “I just hate it for everyone that we took out on lap 1. It’s uncalled for. That one is on me. I’m super disappointed for everybody that is involved with this team, JRM (JR Motorsports).
The four drivers above the Championship 4 cutline are Daniel Hemric (+23), Elliott Sadler (+14), Tyler Reddick (+11) and Christopher Bell (+1).
Below the cutline are Matt Tifft (-1), Justin Allgaier (-5), Cole Custer (-23) and Austin Cindric (-43).
With just two races to go until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, November 3. Live coverage of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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