NASCAR Truck SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Chandler Smith, Carson Hocevar become first-time winners

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Credit: David Jensen/Getty Images, Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The NASCAR Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series raced at different tracks on Saturday, but both had the same constant: a driver winning for the first time in their respective division.

At Richmond Raceway, Chandler Smith led a race-high 83 of 250 laps but faced stiff pressure from his former Truck team-mate John Hunter Nemechek. Smith kept Nemechek at bay on the final restart, which came shortly after a five-car wreck with ten laps remaining, to secure the win seven races into his Xfinity rookie season.

Smith is the second Xfinity rookie to win in 2023 after Sammy Smith at Phoenix three rounds prior. The former could have been the first the week before at Las Vegas when he won the pole and led the most laps but the win slipped away in the closing laps.

“This goes to testimony as to Vegas, dominated that race but didn’t win and said, it was all in God’s timing,” said Smith. “Here we are in Richmond, my favorite race track and we’re sitting in Victory Lane.”

Later in the day at Texas Motor Speedway, Carson Hocevar took advantage of a chaotic finish to visit Victory Lane for the first time. In contrast to Smith winning early into his Xfinity career, Hocevar had fallen short on multiple occasions before finally breaking through in his fifty-ninth career Truck start.

Nick Sanchez was looking to make it a rookie sweep of Saturday’s racing as he led 168 of 172 laps from the pole, but slight contact with Zane Smith as they began the final lap resulted in Sanchez getting loose and sliding through the grass. An attempt to save his truck failed upon being clipped by Hocevar, who was running behind him in third, and he shot into Smith to take them and Derek Kraus out.

Hocevar apologised to Sanchez for the contact, explaining he “just meant to give him a push and he got sideways the second I hit him. I apologise to them, I’ll take the fall for it, I wrecked a Chevy, and I’ll go talk to him about it. He deserved to win for sure.

“But all the times we were the fastest car and I don’t win, this team deserves to win more than anything, I can stop getting the same question asked all the time now. We didn’t deserve to win today but we were in the right spot at the right time.”

The incident came in double overtime, wrapping up a chaotic race with ten cautions excluding the two stage breaks. One such wreck on lap 146 saw Dean Thompson crash into the frontstretch outside wall and come to a rest before being hit by Matt Mills, who was unable to see through the smoke, with Armani Williams and Trey Hutchens drifting into him afterwards while trying to avoid him.

“Just wanna say hope Dean is okay, came out of (turn) 4 checking up and just followed cars in front of me all I seen was grass and smoke and just sliding through it trying to slow down, I couldn’t see there was a car even sitting there,” Mills explained on Twitter. “It may look different but that was my perspective.”

Thompson was taken to hospital where he was evaluated and later released. He will undergo further tests and needs to be cleared by NASCAR before the next Truck race at Bristol on 8 April.

Xfinity race results

1816Chandler SmithKaulig RacingChevrolet250Running
21020John Hunter NemechekJoe Gibbs RacingToyota250Running
378Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
42126Kaz GralaSam Hunt RacingToyota250Running
52200Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord250Running
662Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet250Running
71739Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord250Running
82048Parker KligermanBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet250Running
91821Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet250Running
101110Derek KrausKaulig RacingChevrolet250Running
113291Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet250Running
121627Jeb BurtonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet250Running
1317Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
142938Chris Hacker*RSS RacingFord250Running
152343Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet250Running
161431Parker RetzlaffJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet250Running
1731Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
183444Jeffrey EarnhardtAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet250Running
19218Sammy SmithJoe Gibbs RacingToyota250Running
202528Kyle SiegRSS RacingFord250Running
2199Brandon JonesJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
222425Brett MoffittAM RacingFord250Running
23498Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord250Running
24511Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet249Running
252845Leland HoneymanAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet249Running
262702Blaine PerkinsOur MotorsportsChevrolet248Running
273535Joey GaseEmerling-Gase MotorsportsToyota248Running
281924Connor MosackSam Hunt RacingToyota248Running
293353Patrick EmerlingEmerling-Gase MotorsportsFord248Running
30374Garrett SmithleyJD MotorsportsChevrolet248Running
313866Mason Maggio*MBM MotorsportsToyota247Running
323607Stefan ParsonsSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet247Running
332692Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet247Running
34306Brennan PooleJD MotorsportsChevrolet247Running
353108Gray GauldingSS-Green Light RacingFord245Running
361251Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet243Running
371519Joe Graf Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota236Running
381378Anthony AlfredoB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet144Accident
DNQ74Dawson CramCHK RacingChevrolet
DNQ96Kyle WeathermanFRS RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points

Truck race results

1542Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet172Running
2144Chase PurdyKyle Busch MotorsportsChevrolet172Running
3752Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota172Running
4398Ty MajeskiThorSport RacingFord172Running
5935Jake GarciaMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet172Running
62513Hailie DeeganThorSport RacingFord172Running
7411Corey HeimTRICON GarageToyota172Running
82630Ryan VargasOn Point MotorsportsToyota172Running
9251Jack WoodKyle Busch MotorsportsChevrolet172Running
101099Ben RhodesThorSport RacingFord172Running
112733Mason MasseyReaume Brothers RacingFord172Running
122302Kris WrightYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet172Running
132188Matt CraftonThorSport RacingFord172Running
141838Zane SmithFront Row MotorsportsFord172Running
15619Christian EckesMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet172Running
1612Nick SanchezRev RacingChevrolet171Accident
171323Grant EnfingerGMS RacingChevrolet171Running
181945Lawless AlanNiece MotorsportsChevrolet170Running
191524Rajah CaruthGMS RacingChevrolet169Running
20249Colby HowardCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet169Running
212922Josh ReaumeAM RacingFord168Running
223412Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet168Running
231232Bret HolmesBret Holmes RacingChevrolet167Running
241717Taylor GrayTRICON GarageToyota166Running
252043Daniel DyeGMS RacingChevrolet165Running
26816Tyler AnkrumHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota164Running
271115Tanner GrayTRICON GarageToyota161Accident
28165Dean ThompsonTRICON GarageToyota143Accident
293246Armani WilliamsG2G RacingToyota140Accident
303014Trey HutchensTrey Hutchens RacingChevrolet137Accident
312820Matt MillsYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet134Accident
323325Matt DiBenedettoRackley WARChevrolet122Vibration
333134Keith McGeeReaume Brothers RacingFord39Vibration
342241Chad ChastainNiece MotorsportsChevrolet17Accident
Wth56Timmy HillHill MotorsportsToyota
Wth04Kaden HoneycuttRoper RacingFord
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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