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Nemechek Cruises to 10th Xfinity Win at Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS, NV – March 2, 2024 – The LIUNA! NASCAR XFINITY Series Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Myk Crawford | The Podium Finish)

LAS VEGAS — Now that John Hunter Nemechek runs full-time on Sundays, he comes to play on Saturdays.

Leading five times for 99 laps, Nemechek cruised to a 4.360-second victory in The LiUNA!, registering his 10th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory. The win is his eighth for Joe Gibbs Racing since last February, all of which are in the No. 20 car that he’s piloting part-time in 2024.

“I love winning races. But to be able to win 10 Xfinity races is a pretty big accomplishment,” Nemechek said in his post-race press conference. “I really enjoy being able to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. These cars are so fun to drive. Toyota GR Supras are really fast. It’s a lot of fun, but it means a lot.

“I’ve always run really well here. Don’t really know why — I guess it just suits my driving style. We’ve always been super fast here. Won here in a truck, now the Xfinity car. It’s been some great accomplishments here in Las Vegas.”

Starting 12th, Nemechek drove through the field and took his first lead on Lap 56. He led for the majority of Stage 2 before teammate Chandler Smith navigated past him on the final lap to sweep the stages for the No. 81 team.

Nemechek retook the lead on Lap 101 for nine laps and again on Lap 126 during the yellow flag pit cycle as Parker Retzlaff stalled on the track. The Mooresville, North Carolina native surrendered the lead with 32 laps remaining for his stop. Josh Williams ran long and led 10 laps, hoping for a caution to no avail. He pitted with 11 laps to go, handing the lead back to Nemechek for an easy victory.

“We were an OK car all day. I wouldn’t say that we were the best car,” Nemechek said. “Everyone on the 20 team continued to work really hard and we made all the right adjustments throughout the race on all of our pit stops. In Stage 3, our Toyota GR Supra came alive. It took off, and we were able to execute really well on pit road. Pit crew did really well. Just a fabulous day — no mistakes and continued to get better all day.

“As the race continues to play out, you got to stay on top of adjustments. You got to keep pushing the envelope with your racecar, and whoever adjusts the best throughout the race is normally who ends up winning the race at the end.”

LAS VEGAS, NV – March 2, 2024 – The LIUNA! NASCAR XFINITY Series Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Myk Crawford | The Podium Finish)

Cole Custer, the defending series champion, finished second after battling handling issues for most of the afternoon. He earned stage points, finishing fifth and ninth respectively, and rose to the front during the final runs of the race.

“Hats off to my team. There was a point in the race where I didn’t know what to do,” the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said. “It was loose. It was tight. It was just kind of a handful and we had to manage it. They kept working on it all day and I think the track came to us a little bit and they just did a great job. I can’t thank everybody enough on our team for fighting so hard.”

Smith ended up finishing third, recording his third top-five in a row to start the season. He led 74 laps, and his 54 points on the afternoon led all full-time drivers. He sits second in points, only behind Austin Hill — who won the first two races of the season.

“We just over-adjusted a little bit. We tried to stay ahead of the race track,” Smith said. “I feel like the track definitely freed up, and we went that same direction thinking it was going to tighten up. You live, and you learn, but I’m extremely proud of the effort that we brought here this weekend. Our QuickTie Products Toyota GR Supra was as fast as Xfinity internet, and we showed that. We were pretty dominant, and we just over-adjusted. I’m happy that a Joe Gibbs Racing car still won, so congratulations to John Hunter.”

Stage 1 Top 10 Results
  1. Chandler Smith
  2. John Hunter Nemechek
  3. Austin Hill
  4. Riley Herbst
  5. Cole Custer
  6. AJ Allmendinger
  7. Justin Allgaier
  8. Parker Kligerman
  9. Ryan Sieg
  10. Brandon Jones
Stage 2 Top 10 Results
  1. Chandler Smith
  2. John Hunter Nemechek
  3. Riley Herbst
  4. Justin Allgaier
  5. AJ Allmendinger
  6. Austin Hill
  7. Jesse Love
  8. Parker Kligerman
  9. Cole Custer
  10. Ryan Sieg
The LiUNA Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 12 20 John Hunter Nemechek Safeway/Albertsons Toyota Running
2 1 00 Cole Custer Production Alliance Group Ford Running
3 2 81 Chandler Smith QuickTie Toyota Running
4 5 21 Austin Hill Bennett Transportation Chevrolet Running
5 11 98 Riley Herbst Monster Energy Ford Running
6 3 16 AJ Allmendinger Action Industries Chevrolet Running
7 6 39 Ryan Sieg Sci Aps Ford Running
8 8 8 Sammy Smith Pilot Flying J/BTI Chevrolet Running
9 13 9 Brandon Jones Menards/Jeld-Wen Chevrolet Running
10 36 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Chevrolet Running
11 7 48 Parker Kligerman Spiked Life Coolers Chevrolet Running
12 10 19 Aric Almirola He Gets Us Toyota Running
13 16 26 Corey Heim GearWrench Toyota Running
14 32 11 Josh Williams Alloy Employers Services Chevrolet Running
15 28 15 Hailie Deegan AirBox Ford Running
16 37 5 Anthony Alfredo Dude Wipes Chevrolet Running
17 15 2 Jesse Love Whelen Chevrolet Running
18 19 42 Leland Honeyman LH Waterfront Construction Chevrolet Running
19 18 44 Brennan Poole Macc Door Systems Chevrolet Running
20 27 28 Kyle Sieg Ford Running
21 20 91 Kyle Weatherman Chevrolet Running
22 23 43 Ryan Ellis Classic Collision Chevrolet Running
23 21 27 Jeb Burton State Water Heaters Chevrolet Running
24 22 14 JJ Yeley Chevrolet Running
25 17 51 Jeremy Clements First Pacific Funding Chevrolet Running
26 9 18 Sheldon Creed Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota Running
27 31 92 Nick Leitz Precision Measurements Inc. Chevrolet Running
28 30 07 Patrick Emerling Frontline Optics Chevrolet Running
29 33 6 Garrett Smithley Chevrolet Running
30 38 35 Joey Gase Nevada Donor Network Chevrolet Running
31 29 29 Blaine Perkins Ford Running
32 24 78 BJ McLeod BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet Running
33 34 38 CJ McLaughlin Viking Motorsports Ford Running
34 26 4 Dawson Cram KSDT CPA Chevrolet Running
35 4 31 Parker Retzlaff FUNKAWAY Chevrolet Fuel Pump
36 35 32 Sage Karam EasyCare Chevrolet Transmission
37 25 97 Shane Van Gisbergen Focused Health Chevrolet Engine
38 14 1 Sam Mayer Club Car Chevrolet Accident


Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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