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John Hunter Nemechek Survives the Nashville Heat for Second Xfinity Win of 2024

NASCAR Xfinity Series Nashville JOhn HUnter Nemechek TN Lottery 250

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

With the heat index sending temperatures into the triple-digit range, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Nashville Superspeedway is likely to go down as one of the hottest events in quite some time.

That heat, however, was no match for the Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota GR Supra, piloted by NASCAR Cup Series regular John Hunter Nemechek. Leading a race-high 76 laps, Nemechek was able to hold off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Chandler Smith for his second Xfinity Series win of 2024, and the fifth of the year for the No. 20.

Nemechek, who will drive for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB in Sunday’s Ally 400, was able to take over the race lead during the race’s final restart, slicing to the inside lane when defending Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer got out of the groove at the exit of the second corner.

From there, it was all about managing the gap for Nemechek, who barely managed to keep Chandler Smith in his rearview mirror as the pair approached a five-car pack, all of which were fighting to remain on the lead lap. The final margin of victory for Nemechek was 0.366 seconds, the third straight race with a margin of victory of less than half a second.

RELATED: NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 Race Results

“[The car] was fast,” said Nemechek post-race. “Overall, what a solid day. This Pye-Barker Toyota GR Supra was super-fast. Just so proud of these No. 20 guys — they are an amazing group. I just have the honor to hold the wheel a few times this year. [Tyler Allen] filled the role pretty well, I would say – as well as this 20 group. They haven’t changed. I’m honored to work with them week in and week out.”

Chandler Smith was able to finish in the runner-up spot, despite having damage to the right side of his Barger Precast Toyota GR Supra from the race’s single on-track incident. It’s the first top-five result for Smith, a two-time winner this season, since Martinsville in April.

Rookie of The Year (ROTY) contender Jesse Love managed to rebound from starting at the rear of the pack, plus a horrendous pit stop mid-race, to finish in third place, one spot ahead of his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Hill, who came home fourth.

NASCAR Cup Series regular Noah Gragson rounded out the top five, driving the No. 30 Ford Mustang for ARCA Menards Series team Rette Jones Racing, making their second-ever start in the Xfinity Series.

Riley Herbst made an amazing recovery to finish sixth after the cool shirt failed in the early portion of Saturday’s event and began pumping hot water while under green, leaving the Las Vegas, Nevada native to suffer until he could come down pit road and get the hose unplugged.

AJ Allmendinger spent the middle portion of the race looking like the fastest racecar but had a slow pit stop late in the going, and faded slightly to bring his Kaulig Racing entry home in seventh.

Justin Allgaier was eighth after contact with Ty Gibbs sent him to the rear of the pack with less than 50 laps remaining. Cole Custer, the leader coming to the race’s final restart, faded back to ninth, while JR Motorsports driver Sam Mayer completed the top-10.

After leading the opening 48 laps of the Tennessee Lottery 250, Ty Gibbs faded back to the tail-end of the top-five, before contact from Xfinity Series regular Justin Allgaier turned the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra around in Turn 4, derailing the Cup Series driver’s afternoon.

Leaving Nashville, Cole Custer continues to lead the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, sitting 15 markers ahead of second-place Chandler Smith. Justin Allgaier and Austin Hill sit third and fourth, while Riley Herbst jumped into fifth.

Next for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to the Chicago Street Course, where the field will undoubtedly be chasing Shane Van Gisbergen, the defending NASCAR Cup Series winner, who also competed full-time in the series for Kaulig Racing.

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