John Hunter Nemechek won the Xfinity Series on Saturday after escaping a wreck-filled NASCAR race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
John Hunter Nemechek successfully accomplished the first back-to-back victory effort of his career by winning the Ambetter Health 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway following a major victory last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Nemechek moved away from the chaos after the final caution in order to prevent one final wipeout behind him. The 10th caution of the race saw Nemechek drive the No. 20 Toyota across the finish line as the race was stopped by a white flag.
As the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led a race-high 137 laps, Nemechek held off rookie Chandler Smith by 0.424s on an overtime restart. He also became the series’ most successful driver this season with four victories, bringing his total to six for his career.
The 26-year-old second-generation NASCAR champion currently leads the standings by 33 points over Austin Hill of Richard Childress Racing, who finished third on Saturday and has won three races in 2023.
The 1.058-mile oval race saw ten caution periods, the final of which prompted an overtime finish. Cole Custer and Sheldon Creed, who were Nemechek’s closest rivals on the day crashed behind him as they fought for third place as he was about to roll under the white flag. The incident forced the race to come to an end.
Custer, who has won twice this year had spent the majority of the race in the top three. Creed has yet to claim his first victory of the year.
Taking advantage of the incident, Chandler Smith who started from the pole position was able to secure a second-place finish. Sammy Smith, Austin Hill and Daniel Hemric came after him in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Smith, who came in second and won his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole position on Friday, only led for the first lap but stayed in contention and kept the leaders on their toes all day.
After leading 27 laps early in the race and winning Stage 1 Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports finished sixth matching Nemechek for the season’s most stage victories (five).
Josh Williams, the owner-driver who earned his first back-to-back top-10 finishes of the year, finished seventh followed by Jeb Burton who had won earlier in the season at Talladega. The last two top ten finishers in New Hampshire were Brett Moffitt and Mason Massey. It was also Massey’s first top-10 of 2023.
Only 71 laps into the race, New Englander and fan favorite Parker Kligerman was involved in a restart 12-car crash and finished in 31st place. With the top 12 ranked drivers being eligible for the Playoffs, he started the race in 13th place just six points behind 12th.
Although Kligerman was involved in the multi-car collision, the race resulted in enough caution casualties that Kligerman now exits his “hometown” circuit ranked 12th, 16 points ahead of Burton in 13th.