Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith, both advanced to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8 after today’s Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Nemechek clinched his way in with a win at Texas two weeks ago, whereas Smith was able to transfer to the next round by being four points above the cutline with an 11th place finish. This will be both driver’s first appearance in the Xfinity Series Round of 8.
Kaz Grala of Sam Hunt Racing (SHR) captured his second top-five and second-best result of the season, finishing fifth after a tight battle at the end with drivers fighting to advance in the playoffs.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Race 29 of 33 – 155.44 miles, 67 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Sam Mayer*
2nd, Cole Custer*
3rd, Josh Berry*
4th, Riley Herbst*
5th, KAZ GRALA
8th, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
11th, SAMMY SMITH
14th, MYATT SNIDER
24th, CONNOR MOSACK
33rd, ALEX GUENETTE
KAZ GRALA, No. 26 CRUSH Strawberry Lemonade Toyota GR Supra, Sam Hunt Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How would you describe your day and the great run you had?
“Today was great! We had the speed all weekend. Was able to run in the top-five there at the end even with a couple guys (Sheldon Creed and Daniel Hemric) fighting hard, battling for the playoff bubble. I had to be aggressive and smart at the same time knowing what we had to lose, and that they didn’t care. Really happy to end up in the top-five with Sam Hunt Racing and Toyota this weekend. We ran the pink, strawberry lemonade CRUSH paint scheme which looked great for Breast Cancer Awareness Month here in October. A good weekend for us all around and I look forward to big things for us in the future.”
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 20 Mobil 1 Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 8th
You had an interesting day. Can you talk us through your race today?
“Overall, a solid day. Had to start last due to an issue after practice and before qualifying. We were able to get up through the field, won stage two and came home eighth. We play the strategy to come and get extra Playoff points from stage wins and also from trying to win the race. We saw the Playoff point there and went and grabbed it. Now, on to the next round. Today didn’t really mean too much to us other than stage wins or a race win for Playoff points. Solid day overall. I’m excited for the next round to get going at Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville and then on to Phoenix.”
SAMMY SMITH, No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 11th
What was the balance of aggression and caution you had to use in order to make it through to the next round of the Playoffs?
“It was a struggle all day. It was definitely not the day we wanted to try and have in a cutoff race. Thanks to everybody. Pilot Flying J, TMC, Allstate Peterbilt Group, JGR and Toyota. We needed to have a good, solid day and that’s what we did. It was stressful, but we advanced and that’s what we needed to do.”
How do you feel going into the next round of the Playoffs?
“I feel confident with Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville there. Just gotta go and probably win one of those to make it to Phoenix, but at least we know what we need to do.”
Toyota Racing PR