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EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN THE XFINITY RACE AT VEGAS

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What’s Happening?

Following a dramatic fuel mileage finish at Atlanta, the Xfinity Series get ready to roll the dice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. RCR driver Austin Hill looks to open the year with three-straight wins after claiming the opening two races, while former Cup driver Aric Almirola begins his part-time schedule with Joe Gibbs racing in Sin City. With only one Cup regular in the field in John Hunter Nemechek, the door is open for an Xfinity regular to shine in Las Vegas.

Did Nemechek steal the show? Who folded and who went all in? Here’s everything that happened in the Xfinity race in Vegas. Check it out!

You Need To Know:

  • Heading into today’s race, Austin Hill has won the first two races of the season. He’ll be the one to watch as he looks to win three in a row to start the year. He
  • Aric Almirola makes debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, after retiring from full-time Cup Series racing.
  • Riley Herbst looks to win back-to-back races at Las Vegas after winning his first NASCAR national series race back in October.

Retzlaff and Mayer Make Contact

The first caution for incident occurred on lap 7 when Parker Retzlaff and Sam Mayer made hard contact coming off of turn 4 causing heavy damage to both Chevrolet Camaros. As seen on the replay, the 31 came down on the 1, causing damage to the left rear of Retzlaff while damaging the right front of Mayer’s machine. The damage was severe enough to send Mayer to the garage and out of the race, while Retzlaff was able to continue, albeit with noticeable damage to his left rear that would leave him multiple laps down.

Chandler Smith Cashes in Stage 1 and Stage 2

After starting second, Chandler Smith took the lead from Cole Custer on lap 1 and never looked back. Despite the early caution, no one had anything for the returning JGR driver, as he dominated stage 1, leading the opening 45 laps from start to finish and securing his first stage win of the season.

After a slow stop for Smith that dropped him back to 7th, John Hunter Nemechek emerged as the car to beat, taking the lead on lap 55 from Austin Hill. After working his way through the field, Smith moved up to second on lap 61, with just his Toyota teammate in front of him. Smith caught Nemechek by the end of stage 2 and on the final lap, crossed over his teammate down the backstretch to sweep the opening two stages in Las Vegas.

The Joe Gibbs Racing teammates continued to do battle at the beginning of stage 3, with both drivers trading the lead four times from lap 98 to lap 110. This battle would persist until the fourth and final caution of the day changed the fortunes of one driver while staying in the favor of another.

Retzlaff Stalls on Pit Road

Parker Retzlaff’s race went from bad to worse as the wounded 31 machine tried to reenter the race but stalled on pit road to bring out the final yellow of the race with 76 laps to go. Retzlaff would suffer a fuel pump issue that would end his race early.

Nemechek Hits the Jackpot in Vegas

Nemechek and Smith lead the field down pit road, coming out first and second respectively. Nemechek would continue to lead the race while Chandler Smith’s car began to fade as it faced worsening conditions. With his Toyota teammate out of the equation, the driver of the number 20 Supra set his sights on claiming victory in Sin City.

It would not come easy as after the green flag pit stop, Nemechek found himself behind Austin Hill, who was looking to win his third-straight race to start the season. Nemechek eventually got around Hill and simply had to wait for the cycle of green flag pit stops to finish, as multiple drivers tried to stretch it on fuel hoping to catch a late yellow.

After Josh Williams pitted, Nemechek returned to the lead and never looked back, as he held a five-second lead on Austin Hill with five laps to go. Nemechek cruised to win his first race of the year at Las Vegas and his 10th in the Xfinity Series.

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