John Hunter Nemechek scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
Nemechek wrestled the lead away from Daniel Hemric with 30 laps to go and stayed in front the rest of the way to score the win in his 15th career series start. He led a total of 64 laps and rebounded from a pair of pit road miscues for the win.
“When that caution came I knew we had a chance,” Nemechek said of being able to get a chance to race Hemric for the lead on the restart. “Luckily Daniel and I raced each other hard and clean all day. We got the track position and this thing was unreal to the end.”
The win came 14 years after Nemecheck’s father Joe was victorious at Kansas Speedway.
“It means a lot, especially at Kansas,” Nemechek said. “(In) 2004, I forget how old I was. But dad swept the weekend in the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series. It’s pretty special.”
Hemric, Elliott Sadler, Shane Lee and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top five.
“I was unbelievably loose on that whole last run,” Hemric said about the pass by Nemechek that kept him from winning his first race. “I’m not sure what happened. It just wasn’t meant to be I guess…It will happen when it happens, just not today.”
Hemric could face a points penalty this week after his car failed post-race inspection.
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Matt Tifft, Ryan Reed, Ty Majeski, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements completed the first 10 finishers.
The race got off to an auspicious start for a number of playoff drivers involved in a first lap accident. Justin Allgaier’s car lost control racing off Turn 2 and it set off a chain reaction crash that swept up fellow Playoff drivers Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Cole Custer among others.
Michael Annett, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, Spencer Gallagher and Ryan Truex were also caught up in the incident Allgaier too responsibility for starting.
“Got super loose on the bottom,” Allgaier said. “We hadn’t been loose all weekend so that was kind of a weird sensation for me. Not the way we wanted to start the race today in Kansas especially in the second round of the playoffs.
“These playoffs are so crazy as it is. It’s not a good spot to be in I can promise you that. Right, wrong or indifferent, today sucks. There’s nothing intentional by today at all. We don’t want to put ourselves in any bigger hole than we have to and that’s probably the most frustrating part. Not only did we hurt my day, but we hurt our competitors as well and that’s frustrating on my end.”
Bell remained optimistic about the future because of the playoff point cushion he had built up coming into the Round of 8.
“We’ll try and make up for it at Texas and we still got a lot of race tracks that I can win races at, so hopefully we’ll move on from here,” Bell said.
“That’s the beauty of this format. NASCAR’s done such a great job at giving us something to race for during the regular season. We’ve done our job winning six races this year, so we’ve accumulated some bonus points, so hopefully that can carry us through this bad stretch here and maybe we can find ourselves in victory lane later on in this round. If not, hopefully the bonus points will get us there.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action on Saturday, November 3 at Texas Motor Speedway.