At the end of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek came home with a third-place finish, keeping him 44 points above the playoff cutline heading into Martinsville next weekend. The North Carolina native earned his seventh consecutive top-10 finish and has finished in top-10 in each Homestead Xfinity Series start.
His Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates, Sammy Smith and Joe Graf Jr., both joined him in the top-10, with Smith finishing ninth and Graf tenth. To advance to the Championship 4, Smith is in a likely must win scenario at Martinsville Speedway next Saturday. Graf completed his scheduled races in 2023 with JGR on a high note with his second top-10 in six starts with the No. 19 GR Supra.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race 31 of 33 – 300 miles, 200 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Sam Mayer*
2nd, Riley Herbst*
3rd, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
4th, Austin Hill*
5th, Dale Earnhardt Jr.*
9th, SAMMY SMITH
10th, JOE GRAF JR.
30th, KAZ GRALA
31st, CONNOR MOSACK
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 20 Pye Barker Fire & Safety Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
Can you assess how your race went?
“Overall, solid day. Proud of this whole No. 20 Pye-Barker Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing team. Thanks Toyota, TRD. We are still in a really good points spot going into Martinsville. Just have to go execute – solid points day today, and that’s all you can ask for. Doesn’t matter how you get to Phoenix, just that you get there.”
What kind of challenges did you overcome today to get third?
“A lot, I feel like. We had a really fast Toyota GR Supra with Pye-Barker colors on it today. Thank you to Toyota, TRD – all of our great partners. This thing was almost as fast as Xfinity 10 G, but overall, solid day for us – we had a solid points day. With the 1 (Sam Mayer) winning, it kind of took away our chance to lock it up today. Still a solid cushion behind us going into Martinsville. We won there early this year, so hopefully we can go there and have a solid day. It doesn’t matter if we win. As long as we lock into Phoenix, that is all that matters.”
SAMMY SMITH, No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 9th
Take us through your day today.
“Yeah, it was an okay day for the No. 18 Pilot Flying J GR Supra team as we struggled a bit with balance and just needed some speed throughout the day today. I knew we had to go win either of these two races to advance, so now, have to go to Martinsville and win it – all we have to do. Do whatever it takes to win.”
JOE GRAF JR., No. 19 Wawa Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
Can you talk about what you learned today and what it means to you to achieve a top-10 finish?
“Definitely learned a lot today. I feel like we fired off too free to start the race in the short run. We were really good on the long run, but it hurt us on the short run. We needed to fire off better on restarts, so we tightened the car up, and got it better short run. I felt like we were better on the short run there at the end but gave up a little bit on the long run – just built too tight on center exit, but overall, a good day. I can’t thank the Joe Gibbs Racing guys enough and Wawa coming on board our GR Supra. I’m really happy to be here and hoping to do some more of it next year.”
Golin for Toyota Racing