Nemechek Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 Thriller

LAT Images #20: John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, Pye Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Supra

John Hunter Nemechek held on to win a thrilling Tennessee Lottery 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway as a host of challengers were charging toward him as the race finished.

Nemechek, 27, earned his second win on the season in dramatic fashion by holding off teammate Chandler Smith and Richard Childress Racing teammates Jesse Love and Austin Hill during the final 48-lap, green-flag run.

It was Nemechek’s first win at Nashville and his 11th career Xfinity Series victory in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

“I thought we gave the race away there at the start of Stage 3; I asked for an adjustment and probably shouldn’t have,” said Nemechek, who won Stage 2. “Can’t say enough about my team and glad to finally get it done here at Nashville.”

Part of today’s challenge for the drivers was battling warm summer temperatures and for those who chose not to wear the high-tech cool-body suits, even higher temperatures in the cars. Nemechek said he’s old-school when it comes to racing in the heat.

“I love it when it’s hot out,” Nemechek said. “It separates the men from the boys.”

Nemechek also has an affinity for Nashville, the city where he grew up and learned and perfected his race craft.

“Getting my start at the Fairgrounds, and winning there and now getting a win here at the big track is very special to me,” Nemechek said. “Being able to come to this market for a NASCAR race and putting on a great show for the fans here is really cool.”

Nemechek, who received a beautiful green Gibson guitar for the hard-fought victory, will try to double-up tomorrow during the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race (2:30 p.m. CT, NBC and PRN Radio), where he could add a shiny purple Gibson guitar to his collection. Nemechek will start 35th in row 18 alongside rookie Zane Smith.

Smith rallied to finish second in his No. 81 Toyota, but it was Love who had the fans on their feet as he put on a heck of a show marching all the way through the field.

Love, who finished third after starting last in his red and white No. 2 Chevy, passed a grand total of 69 cars and battled back from several different challenges during the race. He passed an incredible 35 cars during his inspired run to the front.

“I am just proud of everyone at RCR and proud to be a part of a team that doesn’t give up,” an exhausted Love said after the race.

Second-place Smith, who finished just over a second behind Nemecheck said he needed a few more laps to get the job done.

“We got caught up in (Allgaier) and (Gibbs’) scuffle there I’m super proud of everyone at the JGR,” Smith said. “I hate that we got in that mess there cause we could’ve probably made a better run at the win.”

RCR’s Hill, who finished fourth, said he and his teammates couldn’t get the car right where they needed it.

“We fought, it was probably a fourth-place car,” Hill said. “Throughout the race we lost the handle on the car. Everyone at RCR is working really hard. We just have to get a little bit better., I think we will be OK. It’s frustrating to run third and fourth, but it’s still a top-five day. We have to keep our heads up.”

Pole-winner Ty Gibbs finished 20th after winning stage one and finishing fourth in Stage 2. He and Allgaier tangled on Lap 137, ending both drivers’ chances at victory. Allgaier finished eighth.

The other Cup regulars in the race were Noah Gragson, who finished fifth, Tyler Reddick, who finished 14th, and Ross Chastain, who finished 27th.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Tennessee Lottery 250

Nashville Superspeedway

Nashville, Tennessee

Saturday, June 29

(15)  John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, 188.

(8)  Chandler Smith, Toyota, 188.

(38)  Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, 188.

(5)  Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 188.

(7)  Noah Gragson(i), Ford, 188.

(9)  Riley Herbst, Ford, 188.

(4)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 188.

(6)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 188.

(2)  Cole Custer, Ford, 188.

(24)  Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 188.

(3)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, 188.

(30)  Carson Kvapil, Chevrolet, 188.

(13)  Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 188.

(11)  Tyler Reddick(i), Toyota, 188.

(28)  Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, 188.

(10)  Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 188.

(21)  Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, 188.

(17)  Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 188.

(19)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 188.

(1)  Ty Gibbs(i), Toyota, 188.

(18)  Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 188.

(16)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 188.

(23)  Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 188.

 (26)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 187.

(25)  Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, 187.

(27)  Kyle Sieg, Ford, 187.

(20)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 187.

(31)  Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 187.

(22)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 187.

(12)  Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 187.

(29)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 186.

(37)  Logan Bearden, Chevrolet, 185.

(14)  Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 185.

(35)  Chad Finchum, Ford, 184.

(34)  Blaine Perkins, Ford, 184.

(36)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 183.

(32)  Dawson Cram(i), Chevrolet, 183.

(33)  Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 183.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  127.571 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 57 Mins, 36 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.366 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  3 for 17 laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 3 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Gibbs(i) 1-48;C. Custer 49-70;J. Nemechek(i) 71-100;C. Custer 101-142;J. Nemechek(i) 143-188.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  John Hunter Nemechek(i) 2 times for 76 laps; Cole Custer 2 times for 64 laps; Ty Gibbs(i) 1 time for 48 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 19,16,9,00,7,30,98,20,81,39

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,16,00,19,81,30,2,9,7,98

Nashville Superspeedway PR

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