Raiders defense improved, fans ask why? | Raiders News

Explore now

John Hunter Nemechek wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at LVMS | NASCAR | Sports

John Hunter Nemechek wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at LVMS | NASCAR | Sports

As Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway played out, John Hunter Nemechek showed he was the car to beat, even though he said he wasn’t the “best car” all day.

Nemechek, a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series for Legacy Motor Club, led a race-high 99 laps and pulled away late to win The LiUNA Xfinity race in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

“We made all the right adjustments through the race on all of our pit stops,” Nemechek said. “In the final stage, our Toyota GR Supra came alive. It took off.”

Pole-sitter Cole Custer finished second, and Chandler Smith, a JGR teammate to Nemechek, won both stages and was third.

Nemechek took the lead during a pit stop under caution with 75 laps to go. He only surrendered the lead during a round of green flag pit stops, as the rest of the race went caution-free.

“I knew where I lacked,” Nemechek said. “I knew what I needed the car to do, but I couldn’t get it to do that. So luckily, we were able to take a swing at it and got it a lot better than we were in stage 1 and 2.”

Las Vegas native Riley Herbst was fifth, though he felt like a better finish was in store.

“No,” Herbst said when asked whether Saturday’s run was a good one. “I feel like we probably should have finished second or third. We were definitely a third-place car all day.”

Herbst ran in the top three most of the afternoon in his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 98 Ford. When he made his final pit stop with 32 laps to go, Herbst was less than a second behind Nemechek but started to fade in the final laps.

The car “was good,” Herbst said. “The last green flag (pit) stop I felt like we might have made a wrong adjustment there, maybe on my behalf just telling the team the wrong direction.”

Herbst said the wind, which ranged from 35 to 45 mph, “sucked,” and turns 3 and 4 felt different every lap. He also said it was tough to get through lapped traffic.

“Just had to be better than the guys in front of you, and I thought for a while we were there. I just couldn’t roll the center as good as (Nemechek),” Herbst said. “… I just couldn’t get through traffic. All in all, a good day, but it’s frustrating.”

Herbst won the Xfinity race at LVMS in October for his first NASCAR national series win. He is third in the Xfinity Series standings, 27 points behind leader Austin Hill.

Diversity program working

Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez said NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program has “changed a lot” since he participated in it over 10 years ago.

Suarez and other drivers in the program like Bubba Wallace had opportunities to run in lower-tier regional series, but chances to run in one of NASCAR’s top three national series were much harder to find.

“To make the jump to the national series, it was very difficult,” Suarez said. “You had to be lucky and very good to get that opportunity.”

On Friday, Rajah Caruth became the third Black driver to win a race in a NASCAR national series when he won the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at LVMS. Caruth also came up through the Drive for Diversity program, which is celebrating its 20th year this season.

“It’s very special,” Suarez said of Caruth’s win. “… I’m very happy that we’re seeing good talent from the Drive for Diversity program coming into the national series.”

Kyle Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion of Japanese American descent, is also a graduate of the program, along with Truck Series driver Nick Sanchez, who won the truck race at Daytona last month.

Suarez said the program’s increased involvement in the national series is important for the program.

“We had a good opportunity and we knew it was a good program, but today it is a great program,” Suarez said.

Suarez won last week at Atlanta in a thrilling three-wide photo finish. He captured his first Cup Series win at Sonoma in 2022 to become the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup Series race.

“It’s amazing to feel an incredible amount of support from the Latino community,” Suarez said. “I feel very, very proud to be the face of this community in the Cup Series, and we embrace it. I’m pretty happy that racetracks embrace it with us.”

Contact Alex Wright at [email protected]. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

Source link

Related Posts