Ryan Truex rolls to first Xfinity Series win at Dover
Of all the places for Ryan Truex to turn in a career day, the 31-year-old led a dominant 124 of 200 laps at Dover Motor Speedway. He swept both stage wins and ultimately took the checkered flag by an impressive 4.82-second margin to claim his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in Saturday’s A-GAME 200.
It was such a big day for the 31-year-old driver who has raced in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series – primarily part-time – for nine seasons and is scheduled to only make a handful of starts in 2023. Yet he parlayed this part-time opportunity driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota into a hugely sentimental victory at a special place – one that the Mayetta, N.J. native has claimed as his “home track.”
Just before steering his Toyota into Dover’s Victory Lane, he stopped and was greeted by his older brother, Martin Truex Jr. – the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion – who similarly earned his first victory in that series at Dover back in 2007.
“I’m just so thankful, all these fans, my team, they really stuck behind me,” said a smiling and emotional Truex, who becomes the 14th NASCAR Xfinity Series driver to claim his first win at Dover. “Most people didn’t believe in me, and I still did – my girlfriend, my family, my parents, my brother did. I’m just so thankful to be here. I felt like with 20 to go, I was just waiting for something to happen, just praying, please God keep everything straight and let’s get to the end of this. What a car, what an amazing Toyota Supra. I’m speechless.
“I thought I’d be more emotional right now, but when I crossed the flag, I couldn’t even talk on the radio and I’m not an emotional guy. This is for everyone that doubted me.”
JR Motorsports driver and defending race winner Josh Berry finished second to Truex, securing an impressive record at Dover as well. He’s finished either first or second in all three of his Xfinity Series starts at the “Monster Mile.”
“We made some good adjustments in the second half of the race, the pit crew executed well the last couple stops and had a good green-flag cycle and got up to second, but the 19 (Truex) was just too far out and it seemed like he was the best car all day,” Berry said, adding, “It’s a fun day. I love this race track. Hate we didn’t get the win, but it was a great rebound and great day for us.
Berry’s JRM teammate, Justin Allgaier, was third followed by Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill and Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith. The third-place showing for Hill, who led 18 laps, keeps the 2023 three-race winner atop the championship standings by four points over Nemechek.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer finished sixth – good enough to earn the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash incentive award for the second straight week, claiming the final installment of the bonus for 2023. He also got the big money from series sponsor Xfinity at Talladega Superspeedway last week.
Custer topped the other three bonus-eligible drivers — Sheldon Creed (who led 41 laps and recovered from a spin to finish one lap down in 11th), Jeb Burton (last week’s Talladega winner and 18th place Saturday) and pole-starter Parker Kligerman (out early in a crash, 38th).
John Hunter Nemechek dominates Xfinity Series race at Martinsville
Jeb Burton scores second career Xfinity win at Talladega
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – John Hunter Nemechek led a dominant 198 of 250 laps to win Saturday night’s Call811.com Before You Dig 250 – besting his Joe Gibbs Racing
teammate Sammy Smith by
1.518 econds to earn
his second NASCAR Xfinity
Series victory of the 2023
season and first win in his first
series start at Martinsville
The 25-year-old Nemechek, of Mooresville, North Carolina, took the lead for good on a race restart with 32 laps remaining after winning the first two stages of the race. He, Smith and third-place finisher Cole Custer were easily the class of the field all night running some version of 1-2-3 for most of the race.
Smith was able to nudge his way past Custer on the final lap for that runner-up showing.
As Nemechek took his No. 20 JGR Toyota to the frontstretch to do a traditional burnout celebration, he literally set the track on fire briefly – perhaps a fitting finale to his hot night behind the wheel. Not only did he win the race, he won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash incentive prize awarded by series sponsor Xfinity
“I can’t say enough about this whole team, if you would have asked me yesterday if we would have won, I thought we were a 10th-place car in practice,” said Nemechek, whose car was ironically sponsored by a fire extinguisher company (Pye Barker Fire & Safety). “Just grateful the guys made the right adjustments.
While Nemechek’s car was so good on the night, there was still a lot of compelling wheel-to-wheel competition behind him. Fourth-place finisher Josh Berry, for example, led the next highest number of laps (27) – his No. 8 JR Motorsport Chevrolet looking especially strong until a tire situation forced a long pit stop midway through the race. He rallied back through the field, however, to take his seventh-consecutive top-10 finish on the year tying the longest stretch of his career.
Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth – his first top 10 of the season in the No. 9 JRM Chevrolet – followed by another teammate, Justin Allgaier, who was able to keep his No. 7 JRM Chevy in the lead group of cars despite not feeling well himself and finishing the race on much older tires than the rest of the lead group.
Nemechek – who swept both stage wins – Smith, Custer and Berry are now eligible for the next installment of the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000 award – next week at Talladega Superspeedway. The top finishing driver from among that four gets the big check.
“Congrats to them, they were the best car all night,” Smith said.
Kaulig Racing teammates Daniel Hemric and Derek Kraus, AM Racing’s Brett Moffitt and Kaulig’s Chandler Smith rounded out the top 10.
TALLADEGA, Ala. – It was the kind of hard-nosed, impatient – and thrilling – competition that NASCAR fans have come to expect in the final laps of racing at Talladega Superspeedway. In the end, Jeb Burton took the checkered flag on a double overtime restart to claim the victory in Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
The victory was the Virginia native Burton’s second in this Spring event on the 2.66-mile Talladega high banks – both his career wins have come there – and he earned it by being fast, patient and, at times, truly fortunate. His No. 27 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet led 20 of the race’s 121 laps on the afternoon, won the second stage and, most importantly, was able to hold off Sheldon Creed by a mere 0.113 seconds to earn the team its first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Burton, 30, the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, was hoarse after the race, having used his voice instead to scream congratulations to his team on the radio on the cool-down lap. It was a big afternoon-turned-evening for all involved.
“Man, I’m pumped up and out of breath from yelling,” Burton said, grinning. “These guys have made racing fun for me again.”
The fans were on their feet in the grandstands as the field filed up for the final restart; both Burton and Creed racing for their first wins of the season, and most of the remaining top-10 drivers racing for the first win of their careers.
“I let the 27 [Burton] get way out there and had the 00 [Cole Custer] on me getting ready for a big run,” said Creed, who was in front of Burton when the last caution came out, but the field was set according to the last scoring line and that went in Burton’s favor allowing him first choice on lane selection for that final restart.
“Nonetheless, a great day,” he added. “Plate racing is not my best, and I’ve been trying to get better at it. Happy to get Whelen Manufacturing a good finish. We’ve been up and down this year, so just to have a solid day like that is really good for us.”
Big Machine Racing’s Parker Kligerman finished third, with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer and JD Motorsports’ Brennan Poole rounding out the top five.
Caesar Baccarella was sixth in the Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet – his best career finish in part-time starts since 2017. Parker Retzlaff was seventh, followed by Gray Gaulding, Joey Gase and Josh Williams, who all earned their first top-10 finishes of the season.
The dramatic race ending was indicative of the afternoon – restarts and close-quarter racing. Two red flags slowed the event – a result of multi-car incidents that have become characteristic of this style of competition.
Twelve cars were involved in an accident with three laps remaining – including then-leader Daniel Hemric who ended up upside down against the wall. A red flag was thrown while the safety crew got Hemric out of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevy, and Hemric waved to the crowd, walking to the ambulance on his own.
“Just got too far out, it looks like,” Hemric said, watching his accident on video replay afterward. “For sure, late on the block there. I committed – there had been so much give and take on the day.”
Driver Blaine Perkins was transported to a local medical facility in an abundance of caution after being involved in the first accident to bring out a red flag. He and Dexter Stacey’s cars collided just before the second stage break, and Perkins’ car flipped over multiple times. Both drivers climbed out of their cars on their own.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Custer won the Talladega Dash 4 Cash $100,000 check with a fourth-place finish – the only one of the four eligible for the bonus to finish the race. With that effort, he, race winner Burton, Creed and Kligerman are eligible for the bonus in next weekend’s final of the four Dash 4 Cash events at Dover Motor Speedway.
“It’s nice to have a little bit of luck, I’ve been on the wrong side of that many times at these superspeedway races,” said Custer, driver of the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, adding, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been running fourth.”
Austin Hill, who leads the series with three wins, reclaimed the NASCAR Xfinity Series points lead by four points over John Hunter Nemechek, who finished 32nd. Brett Moffitt’s 20 laps out front were the most among the 12 leaders.