BRISTOL, TENN. – John Hunter Nemechek took home a solid third place finish Saturday evening during the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The weekend started just how Nemechek and his team would like, almost as fast as Xfinity 10G, with him qualifying third in the No. 20 car.
Throughout the first part of the race, Nemechek showed similar speed to the top-five speed he had during qualifying, but was not able to gain any track position, settling in fourth by the end of Stage 1. During Stage 2, Nemechek still ran in the top 10, however, he did lose a couple more spots by the end of the stage, finishing in sixth. He worked his way up to second by Lap 257 of the 300 lap race, but Nemechek was not able to get by Daniel Hemric in the No. 10 after a restart, and settled into third in the closing laps of the race.
After the race, the 26-year-old spoke about his car, and his goals coming into the Xfinity Series Playoffs.
“We had a really fast Pye Barker Toyota GR Supra,” Nemechek said. “We needed to be a little bit faster to be as fast as Xfinity 10G, but overall, solid night. We raced smart. We have a 65-point lead, I think, to the cut off or something like that, so that’s good. Our goal coming into this first round was just to have solid finishes. If a win presented itself, a win presented itself. We have to race smart and keep advancing. That is all that matters.”
The Mooresville, North Carolina native also mentioned how he feels leaving Bristol and moving onto Texas Motor Speedway next weekend.
“We are going to Texas, on of my favorite race tracks,” Nemechek added. “We just have to keep having really good runs. Our Pye Barker Toyota GR Supra -pbhiring.com, they are hiring technicians, so make sure you go to that website, but overall, solid night, and looking forward to next week.”
Nemechek leaves the first Xfinity Series Playoff race at Bristol second in points, 65 points above the cut line, behind only Allgaier who locked himself into the round of 12 with a win on Saturday. Notably, Nemechek has now won a total of six races throughout the 2023 season, including last week’s race at Kansas Speedway to lock himself into the playoffs and build a playoff point cushion.
If Nemechek and his team can continue showing speed and getting the solid results, “racing smart” as Nemechek said, as he and his team have during the regular season and the first race of the playoffs, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will without a doubt be one of the four cars to watch during championship race at Phoenix raceway.