After coming up just one spot short last fall, John Hunter Nemechek was not to be denied in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, scoring his first win of the season after leading nearly half of the race. It was Nemechek’s 10th Xfinity Series victory, and first in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The North Carolina native won at the track in 2021 in the NASCAR Truck Series.

Joe Gibbs Racing put up a dominate performance with Nemechek and Xfinity Series regular Chandler Smith, who combined to lead 173 of the 200 laps in the event. Smith, who won the first two stages, added his third consecutive top-five finish to open the season to move up to second in the point standings.

Aric Almirola was scored 12th in his NASCAR Xfinity Series return to Joe Gibbs Racing, while Corey Heim followed a top-five finish in the NASCAR Truck Series last night with a top-15 run in his season debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Race 3 of 33 – 300 miles, 200 laps



2nd, Cole Custer*


4th, Austin Hill*

5th, Riley Herbst*




*non-Toyota driver


JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 20 Safeway/Albertson’s Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How did you get this win?

“I’ve got to give a big shoutout to all of these guys on this 20 team from Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s awesome to come out here and win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with our limited starts, our goal is to win as many as we could. Nothing else matters. Congrats to Tyler (Allen). He’s the new crew chief on the 20 car – his first win as a crew chief. Our spotter, Ryan Blanchard, his first win as well. I have to say hello to Aspen and Penelope back at home. Sadly, there are not here to celebrate, but Taylor is, so we will go celebrate in victory lane. It feels so good to win here in Las Vegas.”

Second-place in the fall, but a win today. How does that feel?

“We definitely worked hard for this one. We were good, but we weren’t great. Tyler (Allen), all of the guys on the 20 team just kept adjusting on it. Hats off to them. They made this Toyota GR Supra faster every single time that we made a pit stop. It continued to get faster, faster and faster. The Safeway Toyota GR Supra looked good, proud to have all of the brands that we do, all of our partners – feels good to come back and win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and to do it here in Vegas – I’ve been so close, so many times with Joe Gibbs Racing, so to finally get it done, it feels really good.”

What was the difference in that final stage?

“Great adjustments by the guys. Figured out some things on my end, which was awesome. We executed pit road really good. The pit crew did a really good job – just executed the last stage when we had to do it. It went green. It feels great to be here in victory lane.”

CHANDLER SMITH, No. 81 QuickTie Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 3rd

What happened there towards the end of the race after such a strong first two stages?

“We just over adjusted a little bit. We tried to stay ahead of the race track. I feel like the track definitely freed up, and we went that same direction thinking it was going to tighten up. You live, and you learn, but I’m extremely proud of the effort that we brought here this weekend. Our QuickTie Products Toyota GR Supra was as fast as Xfinity internet, and we showed that. We were pretty dominate, and we just over adjusted. I’m happy that a Joe Gibbs Racing car still won, so congratulations to John Hunter (Nemechek).”

COREY HEIM, No. 26 GearWrench Toyota GR Supra, Sam Hunt Racing

Finishing Position: 13th

How was the race for you?

“Up-and-down day for us. I feel like we were consistently a top-15 car, at times, a top-10, but track position seemed to be the name of the game. Our GearWrench Supra was good throughout the day. I feel like right there at the end, we got it right where we needed it, unfortunately, a little bit, too little, too late for us, but we know what we need to do going forward, but solid p13 today.”

Toyota Racing Pr