Monday, October 3, 2022

Joe Gibbs Racing brings back Texas winners for Xfinity Race

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Joe Gibbs Racing has another opportunity to win a fall race at Texas Motor Speedway. The team brought back John Hunter Nemechek for another launch of the Xfinity series.

The NASCAR Roster Portal provided the update. It has been confirmed that Nemechek will return in the #18 Toyota GR Supra for the Texas Motor Speedway weekend. He will once again be working with Jason Ratcliff as his crew chief as he completes his third start of the year finishing 18th and 10th overall in the Xfinity series. His other seven starts in 2022 were with Sam Hunt Racing.

Nemechek’s first two launches for JGR in 2022 had very different results. He was within reach of a win at Richmond Raceway in the spring but teammate Ty Gibbs used an aggressive move to push Nemechek up the track at Turn 4. Nemechek eventually finished second behind Gibbs.

His second start of the year for JGR was at Dover Motor Speedway. Nemechek qualified ninth in the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra but had to pit during stage two with an apparent brake problem.

In the 2021 season, Nemechek won multiple races at Texas Motor Speedway. He took the checkered flag in June’s Truck Series race at the intermediate leg, then set a career high during October’s Xfinity Series race.

The North Carolina native started 10th overall in the #54 Toyota Supra and took the lead after stage one. He spent 72 laps at the front of the field and also won stage two.

Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton both spent time at the front in the final stage, but Nemechek reclaimed his place at the front on the final restart. He led another 20 laps to finish the race and he surpassed his previous best time of 64 from a trip to Kansas Speedway in 2018.

The Toyota drivers were so strong that Nemechek and Hemric pulled away from the crowd in the final run to the checkered flag. They were more than three seconds clear of Noah Gragson in third and Justin Allgaier in fourth, helping them to a one-two at JGR.

The trip to Texas Motor Speedway offers Nemechek an opportunity to win his third career Xfinity Series race. It also helps him fill the Camping World Truck Series off-week.

Nemechek and the other Truck Series drivers will close out the month of September. They won’t be back in action until October 1 at Talladega Superspeedway, a race that serves as the penultimate event of the Round of Eight.

The driver of the No. 4 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro of Kyle Busch Motorsports has just come back from 12th place at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he had to start from the back after going to the reserve truck.

Nemechek is currently the first driver below the cutline and is nine points behind Stewart Friesen. Ty Majeski (Bristol winner), Chandler Smith (+24) and Zane Smith (+21) are the other riders currently in solid positions with two races to go in the round of 16.

Scoring and avoiding incidents will be Nemechek’s priority as he competes at Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The veteran rider doesn’t have a win at either circuit, but he does have a top-five at each. These include a second place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2015 and a fourth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in the 2021 playoffs.

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