Race Weekend Central

John Hunter Nemechek Dominates to Win at Kansas

John Hunter Nemechek earned his sixth win of the season Saturday (Sept. 9) afternoon in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Nemechek led 154 laps en route to this victory 

The victory caps off a big week for Nemechek, who announced his plans to return to the NASCAR Cup Series with Legacy Motor Club in 2024, called his shot.

“It’s been an exciting week,” Nemechek said after the race. “I said that we were going to have a 60-point day this weekend, and that’s what we did.”

On the playoff bubble, Parker Kligerman had an incident-free day while Riley Herbst did not, which resulted in Big Machine Racing team making its first-ever playoffs.

“It’s a very satisfying feeling. I definitely was the biggest John Hunter fan on that last run there,” Kligerman told NBC. “We executed at a high level. If we bring this going forward, we’re going to race for a championship.”

See also
Christopher Bell Wins Second Consecutive Cup Pole at Kansas

Though Nemechek won by a large margin, the race itself did not lack excitement.

The first stage had a little bit of everything. Justin Allgaier led the field to green, but the yellow waved just seconds later when rookie Nick Leitz ran into Anthony Alfredo on the frontstretch.

A few laps later, the second caution flew for debris. Nearly halfway into the first stage, Sheldon Creed bounced off the wall into Sam Mayer, who spun and got hit by Kyle Weatherman.

While this occurred, the Kaulig Racing teammates of Chandler Smith and Daniel Hemric battled engine issues.

In the midst of this first stage shuffle, Kligerman moved forward while Herbst slid back. While Nemechek won, Herbst battled back into the top 10 to earn stage points. However, Kligerman finished ahead of Herbst, earning more stage points, and taking the upper hand into stage two.

A caution for debris flew on lap 61, but it did not come quick enough for Cole Custer, who hit the debris and slid into the wall. On the following restart, Kligerman had an issue getting going, and Herbst ran into the No. 48 while looking for a gap. This damaged the right front for the No. 98, and Herbst went two laps down when he pitted to fix the damage.

On lap 75, two-time Kansas winner Brandon Jones, in need of a win, got loose off of Turn 4 and spun into the infield grass to bring out the sixth caution of the race. 

When the race resumed once again, Nemechek drove away to win the second stage.

The final stage did not stay green for very long, as another accident took out multiple race contenders. Going into Turn 3, Sheldon Creed and Sammy Smith made contact. Smith drifted up the track into Allgaier, who spun into the wall. This caution allowed Herbst to earn his way back onto the lead lap. 

This yellow gave way to the longest green flag run of the day. An inspired Herbst quickly made his way into the top 10, but the damage repairs did not hold, and the No. 98 driver had to pit with another flat tire on lap 128.

Back-to-back spins from Rajah Caruth put leaders just inside their fuel windows. The next restart proved to be the final one. While Jones drove up to second, he had nothing for the No. 20 team. 

Nemechek earned maximum points in the event, however Austin Hill ran close enough to his opponent to clinch the regular season championship.

Nemechek still enters the Xfinity playoffs as the top seed, with 2,049 points.

Xfinity Series Results at Kansas

The NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs begin at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, Sept. 15, with the Food City 300. The race will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

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Very interesting that JH wins 6 & still doesn’t win the regular season Championship.

Two thumbs up, for both JHN, & Parker K. Parker drove a very heads up race, & avoided some very dicey moments that very well could have eliminated him.

While JH showed why he’s going to Cup in ’24. We may finally get a peak at the 42’s true potential.

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