John Hunter Nemechek continues to forge ahead on his path toward a potential NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. Driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra, Nemechek put on a performance that championships are made of in the Cabo Wabo 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
On Lap 11 of the event, Nemechek was involved in an accordion-style crash between three Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, when he got Ty Gibbs loose, and Sammy Smith had nowhere to go and piled into Nemechek.
What looked like a day that could have been dashed, got flipped around as Nemechek, and Gibbs played a little strategy by staying out to gain track position between Stages 1 and 2.
Nemechek would spend nearly the entirety of Stage 2 chasing his teammate Gibbs for the lead, but would finally snag the lead for the first time with five laps remaining in Stage 2. He’d go on to win the second Stage, and then he’d go on to lead a race-high 65 laps on his path to scoring the 200th NASCAR Xfinity Series win for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“A great team, and man, I’m grateful for this whole [No.] 20 bunch, thankful for Joe Gibbs Racing, this opportunity,” Nemechek said after the milestone win.
While he was happy to score the win, Nemechek was upset with himself for not giving his teammate more room early in the race, as he has been preaching working better with teammates all season long.
“I have to apologize to Ty,” Nemechek stated with sincerity. “I’ve been the one who has been very vocal about teammates here recently. I put him in a bad aero spot and got him loose and couldn’t check up. It’s my mistake. I hate that we both spun early, but at least we both rebounded decently. I know he’s not too happy with me, he has every right to be.”
Josh Berry, who will pilot the No. 42 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB car in place of the suspended Noah Gragson in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event, was able to mount a challenge on Nemechek on the race’s final restart, but then Berry would get locked into a fevered battle for second place with his JR Motorsports teammate Brandon Jones, which ended either driver’s shot at winning. But the duo still finished second and third.
Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer finished fourth and fifth.
Riley Herbst boosted his NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs hopes with a sixth-place run, while Ross Chastain and Parker Kligerman came home seventh and eighth. Jordan Anderson Racing teammates Parker Retzlaff and Jeb Burton rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.