John Hunter Nemechek wins at New Hampshire for 2nd straight Xfinity checkered flag

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver John Hunter Nemechek drives during qualifying at NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend auto racing Saturday, July 1, 2023, in downtown Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley) (Erin Hooley, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

John Hunter Nemechek survived a wreck-marred NASCAR race Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and won for the fourth time this season in the Xfinity Series.

The 26-year-old Nemechek followed last week’s win at Atlanta with another dominant performance for Joe Gibbs Racing. Nemechek pulled away off the final caution, the perfect spot to avoid one more final wipeout behind him. Nemechek rolled in the No. 20 Toyota to the finish line under caution — the 10th of race — that ended the race under the white flag.

It’s a familiar path to victory lane for Nemechek, who became the first Xfinity driver to win consecutive races this season. He took the lead off the final restart in Atlanta and drove away from the pack to earn his third victory of the season.

The race was slowed by wild wrecks after restarts and a slew of damaged cars limped to the garage. Cole Custer and Sheldon Creed wrecked to bring out the final caution. That was enough to help Chandler Smith, who started from the pole, to finish in second place. He was followed by Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric and Sammy Smith.

“I felt like that was the best race car I had,” Hemric said.

Nemechek, the son of former NASCAR second-tier series champion Joe Nemechek, led 137 laps and gave Joe Gibbs Racing its 199th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory.

“Had I think our first clean race this year,” Nemechek said. “I'm a lucky guy that gets to sit behind the wheel of this 20 car every weekend.”

JGR could get a No. 20 weekend sweep on Sunday. Christopher Bell, who won last year's race at New Hampshire, starts Sunday in the No. 20 Toyota on the pole for the Cup race.

Smith finished second and then slumped against his car on pit road in exhaustion in large part because of a malfunction inside his cool suit that pumped hot water through it and caused exhaustion.


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