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Jeremy Clements, NXS underdogs win out at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 26: Jeremy Clements, driver of the #51 One Stop/ASE Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on August 26, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A long, rain-soaked, wreck-filled Friday night and early Saturday morning ended with a win for Jeremy Clements and NASCAR Xfinity Series’ underdogs in the Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Clements took the lead in triple overtime from Austin Hill, who slowed with electrical issues during the restart. Riley Herbst spun and slowed on the final lap which ended the race under caution with Clements winning.

“I’m speechless,” Clements told NBC. “It’s incredible to win at Day-freaking-tona, man! Holy crap!”

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 26: Jeremy Clements, driver of the #51 One Stop/ASE Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on August 26, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Clements earned his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, five years to the date after his first NXS win at Road America.

With only three regular-season races to go and four spots left, Clements has also virtually-clinched an NXS playoff spot for the third time in his career. He made the playoffs last year and in 2017.

Behind Clements, Timmy Hill earned his fifth NXS Daytona top-10 finish with a career-best second-place finish. Hill’s previous career-best finish was third at Daytona in February 2020.

Hill was also one of two MBM Motorsports drivers to finish in the top 10, as teammate JJ Yeley finished ninth in MBM’s No. 66 entry.

As a NASCAR Xfinity Series owner, MBM owner Carl Long has made 469 tries in the series and earned six top-10 finishes, including the two with Hill and Yeley.

Long’s No. 66 now has five top-15 finishes this season.

TOP 10 FINISHERS: Clements, Hill, Allmendinger, Brandon Brown, Sage Karam (career-best), Ryan Vargas (career-best), Ty Gibbs, Alex Labbe, Yeley, Kyle Sieg (career-best) (See footnotes for stage one and two top-10 finishers)

Brandon Brown finished fourth at Daytona in the No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports entry, sponsored by Larry’s Lemonade for their first and only planned race of 2022. The sponsor didn’t return to the No. 68 for 2022, despite being Brown’s primary sponsor during his lone NXS win last October at sister track Talladega.

Brown was bummed after the fourth-place finish as he believed Daytona was an opportunity to win and improve his situation. Sponsorship woes took him out of the No. 68 for two of the three races before Daytona and will take him out of all but two races after Daytona.

Ryan Vargas finished a career-best sixth-place finish in the No. 6 JD Motorsports Chevrolet.

Vargas has been in and out of the No. 6 this summer. Spencer Pumpelly did Watkins Glen in the No. 6, Ty Dillon did Indianapolis and Road America — and Gray Gaulding did Portland.

Vargas sat out Watkins Glen and Indianapolis after DNQ’d at Road America and finished 23rd at Portland for Mike Harmon Racing. The No. 6 team DNQ’d at The Glen and, in the other three races, had a best finish of 20th at Indy with Ty Dillon.

Daytona was relief for Vargas and the No. 6 team. They welcomed National Metering Services into the sport with a sixth-place-finishing thank you gift for possibly more successes to come.

Sage Karam finished fifth and earned his first NXS top-5 finish. It was also the first NXS top-5 finish for Tommy Joe Martins as an owner.

In eighth, Alex Labbe earned his best Daytona NXS finish since February 2020 when he led 19 laps and finished 10th.

In NXS start no. 15 and no. 14, Kyle Sieg and Jesse Iwuji each earned their best career NXS finish in 10th and 11th, respectively.

Footnotes:

STAGE ONE TOP 10: Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Sheldon Creed, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Justin Haley Ryan Sieg.

STAGE TWO TOP 10: Noah Gragson, Anthony Alfredo, Riley Herbst, Mayer, Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Gibbs, Allgaier, Myatt Snider, R. Sieg

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