Race Weekend Central

John Hunter Nemechek Overcomes Early Spin, Dominates Late for Xfinity Win at Michigan

John Hunter Nemechek dominated the final stage and held off Josh Berry and the rest of the field on a late restart to win the Cabo Wabo 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Michigan International Speedway.

It is Nemechekā€™s series-leading fifth win of the season and the seventh of his Xfinity Series career. The win was also a big milestone for Joe Gibbs Racing, as the team claimed its 200th Xfinity Series win.

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“I’m grateful for this whole No. 20 bunch, grateful for Joe Gibbs Racing for this opportunity,” Nemechek told NBC Sports’ Kim Coon post-race. “Our Toyota JGR Supra was fast as Xfinity 10G today.”

Nemechekā€™s win did not come without some nervous moments, as a late caution led to a restart with seven laps to go. However, Nemechek fired off well and won by 1.495 seconds over runner-up Berry.

Brandon Jones finished third, Ty Gibbs placed fourth, and Sam Mayer rounded out the top five. Places sixth through 10th went to Riley Herbst, Ross Chastain, Parker Kligerman, Parker Retzlaff, and Jeb Burton, respectively.

Berry led the 38-car field to the green flag, but he lost the lead quickly to his teammate and outside polesitter Justin Allgaier, who passed Berry off of turn two in the opening lap. The first caution came out early on lap four when Kaz Grala spun out his No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota exiting turn four.

The race restarted on lap 10, but it did not stay green as contact between the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Gibbs and Nemechek triggered a five-car wreck off of turn two, bringing out the second caution on lap 11. Their JGR teammate Sammy Smith sustained the worst damage out of all the drivers involved, ending his race. Carson Hocevar and Mason Maggio were also involved.

“I have to apologize to Ty [Gibbs],” Nemechek said afterwards about the wreck. “I’m the one who has been very vocal about teammates here recently. I put him in a bad aero spot, got loose and couldn’t check up. I hate that we both spun, but at least we both rebounded decently.”

On lap 19, Maggio hit the turn two wall following a right front tire failure, bringing out the third caution and sending Maggio to the garage. Stage one ended with an eight-lap shootout, as Allgaier cruised to the stage win, beating Berry by over three seconds.

A pit strategy shakeup occurred during the ensuing caution, allowing Gibbs to take the race lead with Nemechek restarting right behind him in the preferred outside lane. Allgaier restarted stage two back in ninth.

The yellow flag was displayed yet again on lap 38 after Connor Mosack spun and hit the wall in turn one in the No. 24 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota following contact with Kyle Seig in the No. 38 RSS Racing Ford.

The cars got back up to speed on lap 43, and stage two stayed green until its lap 60 conclusion, as Nemechek passed Gibbs on lap 54 to pick up the stage win. Allgaier rallied all the way back to second in stage two, accruing 19 stage points on the day.

Allgaierā€™s race took a turn for the worse on pit road when Gibbs got in the back of him, spinning the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet during the yellow-flag pit stops following stage two.  As a result, Allgaier restarted stage three way back in the 31st position.

Stage three went green on lap 67, with Nemechek taking the lead and then regaining it following a sequence of green-flag pit stops. Allgaier rallied from 31st to ninth before his green-flag pit stop, but the No. 7 team got hit with a over the wall too soon penalty, forcing Allgaier to do a pass through penalty.

With 13 to go, the seventh and final caution came out for Patrick Emerling hitting the wall in the No. 35 Ford. That set the stage for the final restart with seven laps to go, but Nemechek pulled away for the win without any issues.

Cabo Wabo 250 Results

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course next Saturday, Aug. 12, for the running of the Pennzoil 150 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The race begins at 5:30 p.m. E.T. on the USA Network.

About the author

Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in May of 2022 as an iRacing contributor. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Richmond, and VCU. He has a new day job as an athletic communications specialist at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

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DoninAjax

So the 20 spins out teamate in the 19 and his teammate in the 18 gets taken out and the 20 wins the event. Should be an interesting meeting on Monday morning. Or maybe earlier.

dawg

JH could have hung on in Cup, with a field filler, to mid pack car. But he wasn’t going anywhere.

Stepping down to a win capable truck, was an excellent career decision.

Looks like the next rung on the ladder is in sight, he may have to wait another year but that can’t hurt.