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John Hunter Nemechek Caps Off Dominant Run with Xfinity Victory at Las Vegas

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen, Getty Images

This season, the objective for John Hunter Nemechek while running select events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, is to collect trophies.

After a dominant performance in Saturday’s The LiUNA at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 26-year-old driver is doing exactly that, parking his No. 20 Albertson’s Toyota GR Supra in Victory Lane, after a dominant performance, in which the Joe Gibbs Racing driver led a race-high 99 of 200 laps.

Throughout the afternoon, the Mooresville, North Carolina-native primarily traded the lead back-and-forth between his newest teammate Chandler Smith, as the two drivers managed to bring the fastest cars to the racetrack for the first true intermediate race of the 2024 season.

But, when Smith began to fade on the second-to-last run of Saturday’s 300-mile contest, dropping to fourth, it was Nemechek who looked unstoppable. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, the full-time NASCAR Cup Series competitor had managed to stretch his advantage to five-plus seconds, after Riley Herbst and Austin Hill had been left to battle for the runner-up spot in the race’s final run.

The victory is the 10th for Nemechek in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, becoming the 47th driver to have a double-digit number in the wins column in the second-tier series, an accolade in which his father, 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion Joe Nemechek, has also accomplished throughout his long-tenured career.

“Hats off to all of the guys on this No. 20 team from Joe Gibbs Racing, it’s awesome to come back out here and win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a limited number of starts,” said Nemechek. “Our goal is to come and win as many as we possibly could – nothing else matters.”

Additionally, Saturday’s win at Las Vegas marks the first for both Tyler Allen, the new crew chief on the No. 20 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for 2024, as well as Ryan Blanchard, who will spot for Nemechek in both the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

“We’re going to celebrate in Victory Lane, it feels so good to win here in Las Vegas, and got some resp for tomorrow, so I’m excited.”

In the end, Nemechek managed to hold an advantage of 4.360 seconds over defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer, who finished in the runner-up spot after a late-race charge through the top five.

Chandler Smith, who led 74 laps on Saturday, came home in third place, while Austin Hill and Riley Herbst faded back to fourth and fifth place in the final run of Saturday’s event. AJ Allmendinger was sixth, with Ryan Sieg, Sammy Smith, Brandon Jones, and Justin Allgaier rounding out the top-10.

Josh Williams, who stayed on track as long as possible during the final run of the race hoping for a caution, ended up finishing in 14th place, one lap behind the leader, after leading 10 laps but relinquishing the top spot with 11 circuits remaining.

Leaving the third race of the year at Las Vegas, Austin Hill holds a 22-point advantage over Chandler Smith in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings. Riley Herbst, AJ Allmendinger, and Cole Custer complete the top five.

Up next for the series, is a trip to Phoenix Raceway, the site of the NASCAR Xfinity Series finale next Saturday at the one-mile speedway in the desert.

Race Results: NXS The LiUNA! at Las Vegas

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