John Hunter Nemechek has helped to put a wonderful bow on the end of Auto Club Speedway’s time as a two-mile speedway in the ranks of NASCAR’s top-three series, after winning Sunday’s Production Alliance Group 300.
The 25-year-old was able to defend against a last-ditch charge from teammates Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier, spinning his race-high 49 laps led into a victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event.
Nemechek, who embarks on his second full campaign in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season, was able to snatch the lead from Justin Allgaier in the midst of several late-race restarts, putting his No. 20 Vons-Albertsons Toyota GR Supra in the lead.
In the closing laps of what was a bizarre race from multiple different points of view, Nemechek was able to blast away from the pack, while Sam Mayer, still looking for his first career victory, jetted into second.
Mayer fell as far behind as 1.2 seconds in the closing laps of the event but was able to make a surge in the closing laps to finish three-quarters of a second behind the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
Justin Allgaier, who had several issues throughout the event including an unscheduled pit stop late in the second stage, was able to rebound for a third-place result, making him one of two drivers to finish top-five in both of the series’ events thus far.
Chandler Smith finished the race in fourth place, a career-high for the Kaulig Racing driver, and his best finish in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition. Josh Berry, despite several issues throughout the event, rounded out the top five.
Austin Hill, winner at Daytona, and Riley Herbst finished the race sixth and seventh, both continuing their streaks of top-10 results in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Austin Dillon finished in eighth, despite his No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro missing the entire left-front fender. Brett Moffitt picked up AM Racing’s first top-10 finish in the ninth, while Parker Kligerman completed the top-10.
The race, which was postponed to Sunday after the NASCAR Cup Series event, featured an impressive 23 lead changes, tying it with four other races as the third-most lead changes in a non-superspeedway Xfinity Series event.
Leaving Auto Club, the NASCAR Xfinity Series now travels to Las Vegas, Nevada, where the series will be met with the return of all-time wins leader Kyle Busch, driving the Kaulig Racing No. 10.