NASCAR Xfinity Series

John Hunter Nemechek lights up, burns down Martinsville Speedway in Xfinity domination

2 Mins read
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

John Hunter Nemechek put on a Martinsville Speedway masterclass on Saturday as he led 198 of 250 laps to win the NASCAR Xfinity SeriesCall 811 Before You Dig 250, though he probably would have needed to call 911 for the blaze that followed as his victory burnout caused the rear of his #20 car to ignite.

“This car wasn’t very good in practice yesterday. I thought we were like a tenth-to-twelfth place car,” said Nemechek. “Everyone went to work on this #20 team for qualifying and this race today.

“Thank you to (sponsor) Pye Barker Fire & Safety – they actually carry Pye Barker fire extinguishers here in Martinsville. It was fitting: after we caught on fire, they put it out.”

Nemechek started second alongside Cole Custer, but the pole winner was a virtual non-factor after leading the first five laps before Nemechek took control. He won two stages and only briefly lost the lead to Justin Allgaier following Jeremy Clements‘ lap 218 crash before holding the top spot from the ensuing restart onwards.

Custer would settle for third behind Nemechek and Sammy Smith, who made it a Joe Gibbs Racing 1–2 finish. The victory was Nemechek’s second of 2023 after Fontana in February.

Interestingly, Nemechek’s burnout fire was the not the first to occur in 2023 as Zane Smith did the same after winning the Craftsman Truck Series race at COTA in March.

Six cautions were flown for crashes, with one of the hardest being a lap 136 incident in which Ryan Ellis clipped Joe Graf Jr. and sent the two into the wall. Graf expressed his frustration over the radio and vowed to race Ellis differently in response, though the two left on a cordial note following a post-race conversation.

Elsewhere in the field, Derek Krauspart-time Xfinity career continued to produce strong results as he finished eighth, making him two-for-two in scoring Xfinity top tens after a tenth in the previous race at Richmond. Kyle Weatherman was thirty-fourth in the début of FRS Racing due to a break in the driveline, while Kaden Honeycutt‘s maiden Xfinity race ended in last with an engine failure.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1220John Hunter NemechekJoe Gibbs RacingToyota250Running
2718Sammy SmithJoe Gibbs RacingToyota250Running
3100Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord250Running
468Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
5109Brandon JonesJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
687Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
71311Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet250Running
81210Derek KrausKaulig RacingChevrolet250Running
91625Brett MoffittAM RacingFord250Running
101116Chandler SmithKaulig RacingChevrolet250Running
11431Parker RetzlaffJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet250Running
121419Ryan TruexJoe Gibbs RacingToyota250Running
132302Blaine PerkinsOur MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
143127Jeb BurtonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet250Running
151926Kaz GralaSam Hunt RacingToyota250Running
161521Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet250Running
172148Parker KligermanBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet250Running
181739Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord250Running
192092Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet250Running
202544Jeffrey EarnhardtAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet250Running
213635Patrick EmerlingEmerling-Gase MotorsportsToyota250Running
222653Matt Mills*Emerling-Gase MotorsportsFord250Running
233708Gray GauldingSS-Green Light RacingFord250Running
243878Anthony AlfredoB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet250Running
253045Leland HoneymanAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet250Running
262491Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet250Running
2732Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet250Running
283543Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet249Running
29326Brennan PooleJD MotorsportsChevrolet246Running
30998Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord222Accident
3151Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet221Accident
322251Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet210Accident
331824Connor MosackSam Hunt RacingToyota205Running
342796Kyle WeathermanFRS RacingChevrolet198Suspension
352828Kyle SiegRSS RacingFord145Accident
362907Dawson CramSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet143Accident
373438Joe Graf Jr.RSS RacingFord133Accident
383374Kaden Honeycutt*CHK RacingChevrolet83Engine
DNQ4Garrett SmithleyJD MotorsportsChevrolet
DNQ66Chad FinchumMBM MotorsportsFord
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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