By Jonathan Fjeld and Dominic Aragon
HAMPTON, Ga. — John Hunter Nemechek inherited the lead in NASCAR Overtime and won the Alsco Uniforms 250 Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Nemechek overtook Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith, who ran out of fuel during the final restart of the race.
Nemechek held off charges from Smith’s teammates Daniel Hemric and Justin Haley to take his third win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, only leading three laps.
“I got a huge push from the 11 (Daniel Hemric), so thanks to Daniel for giving me that huge push,” Nemechek said. “Hats off to this entire 20 team. Early on in the race, if you would have said that we were going to win the race, I would have told you that wasn’t going to be the case.”
Nemechek and Austin Hill lead the series with three wins apiece.
Hemric, the 2021 series champion, finish second. Hemric has posted two Top-5 finishes this season, both runner-up finishes at Atlanta.
Cole Custer, Justin Haley and Sam Mayer rounded out positions third through fifth.
The first stage ran smoothly with just one caution – for Parker Kligerman having a flat left-rear tire on lap 29 – and Riley Herbst getting the stage with a last-turn pass on Josh Berry.
STAGE ONE TOP 10: Herbst, Berry, Chandler Smith, Justin Haley, Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier, Jeremy Clements, Sheldon Creed, Joe Graf Jr., Parker Retzlaff
Parker Retzlaff kicked off stage two with possibly the save of the year after John Hunter Nemechek bumped him in Turn 4.
Then, heartbreak hit independent driver Greg Van Alst in turn turn four on lap 62.
The rest of the stage ran smoothly with Sheldon Creed picking up the stage win.
STAGE TWO TOP 10: Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill, Ryan Sieg, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric, Chandler Smith, Parker Kligerman, Sammy Smith
The stage winners’ fortunes quickly faded on lap 89. Riley Herbst popped a tire, then Brandon Jones unintentionally hooked Ryan Sieg while trying to avoid Herbst.
That set off a big wreck involving Sheldon Creed, Ty Gibbs, Anthony Alfredo, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Kyle Weatherman, Josh Williams, Sam Mayer, Blaine Perkins and Brennan Poole.
Sieg, Herbst, Creed, Alfredo, Jones and Perkins all retired from the race after this. Weatherman fell out after wrecking again on lap 102.
Austin Hill worked the Kaulig Racing cars over as they ran 1-2-3. At one point, he was between them in second but was shuffled out after trying to make a move on leader Justin Haley.
Hill had no friends in the pack, either as he tried every move he could until he spun on lap 162 and set up an overtime finish.
The next scheduled race for the Xfinity Series is the Crayon 200, scheduled for Saturday, July 15 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
John Hunter Nemechek continues to hold the points lead (678 points) over Austin Hill (-16), Cole Custer (-45), Justin Allgiaer (-54), and Chandler Smith (-152).