John Hunter Nemechek Sets The Field Ablaze In Dominate Martinsville Performance

John Hunter Nemechek Sets The Field Ablaze In Dominate Martinsville Performance

by April 16, 2023 1 comment

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – John Hunter Nemechek dominated to win the Before You Dig. 250 at Martinsville Speedway, and during his post-race celebration, his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota caught fire.

To say Nemechek was smokin’ fast would be an understatement. The driver of the No. 20 Pye Baker Fire and Safety Toyota led 198 of the 250 laps en route to winning his second race of the season. Heading into Saturday’s race, Nemechek didn’t think his car was fast enough to even compete in the top-five, but he took over the lead on Lap 6 and went on to lead on three occasions before capturing the checkered flag.

“It was amazing,” Nemechek said. “This car wasn’t very good in practice yesterday – I thought we were like a 10th-to-12th place car. I’ll tell you what – everyone went to work on this 20 team for qualifying and this race today. So huge shoutout to the guys on this 20 team. Thankful for the opportunity from Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD, Coy (Gibbs), wish he was here with us. Thank you to Pye Barker Fire & Safety – they actually carry Pye Barker fire extinguishers here in Martinsville. It was fitting – after we caught on fire, they put it out. This car was as fast as Xfinity 10G today – dominate, that’s all I can say.”

Nemechek’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Sammy Smith finished second in the No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota. Throughout the race, the leaders were initiating the bump-and-run and pushing their way towards the next spot, and Smith was in the thick of it all night long.

“I tried to race John Hunter with a lot of respect to try to make sure one of us got the win, but at the end, I think the 00 (Cole Custer) was kind of beating my bumper off, so I thought it was fair to move him back,” Smith said. “It was good tonight for us. Just thank you to Pilot Flying J, Toyota, TMC, Allstate Peterbuilt Group, Golden Harvest – everybody that helps. We will get it done next week.”

Cole Custer finished third, and Josh Berry overcame valve stem issues to finish fourth.

VIDEO: Josh Berry Battles Back From Tire Issue To Finish Fourth At Martinsville

Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five, followed by Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Derek Kraus, Brett Moffitt and Chandler Smith.

Nemechek swept all three stages during his incredible performance, and he also won the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus. The drivers competing for the Dash 4 Cash at Talladega Superspeedway will be Nemechek, Custer, Smith and Berry.

Live coverage of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway will broadcast on FS1 at 4 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Barrett Goodson/

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