The Xfinity Series hit the track at Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300 and what an interesting race it turned out to be. Two drivers would stay up front and battle for the lead, but only one driver could win. John Hunter Nemechek, in his No.42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, grabbed his first career Xfinity Series win after battling hard with Daniel Hemric.
Although Nemechek isn’t eligible for the Playoffs, he’s looking for a ride for next year and today’s win may make the difference he needs. It was also a special win for him as his father, Joe Nemechek, swept the Xfinity Series race and the Cup Series race in 2004. Nemechek was a little boy back then but knew it was a special day for his father.
“It means a lot especially in Kansas in 2004, I forget how old I was, my dad swept the weekend in the Xfinity Series and Cup Series,” Nemechek told reporters. “It’s pretty special,” Nemechek added. “Huge thank you to Fire Alarm Services and Chip Ganassi Racing and Chip for giving me this opportunity.”
Stage 1 had a wild start to the race when pole sitter Hemric took the green flag. Justin Allgaier got loose and spun taking out several Playoff contenders, not to mention himself. Also involved in the crash were Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, Michael Annett, Ryan Truex, Spencer Gallagher, and Chase Briscoe. Custer was the only Playoff driver able to continue, however, he didn’t have any power steering. There were a couple of minor cautions after the big one but they were only one car accidents. Hemric led every lap in the stage and took the stage win.
During Stage 2 the drivers settled down into the race and there were only a couple of minor cautions. During the race, the strong wind blew off the hood of Ross Chastain’s car and was demolished when the drivers behind him ran over it. Midway through the stage Nemechek and Hemric battled for the lead and Nemechek would take the lead. The stage ended under caution after driver Ryan Preece hit the wall. Nemechek was the winner of Stage 2.
The final stage of the race started with Hemric’s No.21 Richard Childress Chevrolet back in the lead with Nemechek right behind him. It looked as if it would be an easy win for Hemric who had a good lead over Nemechek when the caution came out for the stalled car of Vinnie Miller.
Matt Tifft didn’t pit under the yellow to take the race lead with Elliott Sadler behind him. Sadler’s team strategy was to take two tires only getting him on the front row on the restart. However, both drivers strategies failed as Nemechek quickly took the lead and didn’t look back. Hemric led a total of 128 of the 200 laps and finished in the runner-up spot. At the end of the race, there were only eight cars on the lead lap.
“I thought the restart wasn’t really that bad,” stated Hemric. “I had a vibration the last fifteen laps. I don’t know if the tires equalized or what. It’s frustrating. I just didn’t have what he had, that last run it was unbelievable how fast that thing was taking off.” He ended by saying, “its all gonna work out the way it’s supposed to.”
Sadler driving his No.1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet ended the race in third place, after the call for two tires only.
“It was a wild race which we’ve seen in the Xfinity Series the last couple of years,” Sadler commented. “Always the first race of a round gets kinda crazy, everything happens so quick and so fast. We’ve put our best foot forward and we’ll build on this going to Texas. Being in second place is great but we still have a lot of work left to do.”
Shane Lee and Tyler Reddick would round out the top five. Matt Tifft, Ryan Reed, Ty Majeski, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements finished sixth through 10 respectively.
The Playoff Standings after today’s race are as follows: Hemric +23, Sadler +14, Reddick +11, Bell +1, Tifft -1, Allgaier -5, Custer -23, and Cindric -43
The Xfinity Series is off next week. They head next to Texas Motor Speedway Nov. 3.