John Hunter Nemechek claimed his first Nascar Xfinity Series win at Kansas Speedway today, while many playoff contenders didn’t even turn a single lap.

A multi-car accident on the second turn of the first lap eliminated championship contenders Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric while Cole Custer was able to continue.  This left an opportunity for drivers sitting outside of the cut off for the next round of the playoffs to capitalize.  However, it would be Nemechek who stepped up to the plate and took the win behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Yahoo Sports

“When that caution came, I knew we had a chance. Luckily, Daniel and I raced each other hard and clean all day. We got the track position, and this thing was on rails today. I feel like we’ve been contending for wins all year. We just haven’t pulled through,” said Nemechek after his win.

After the lap one wreck, Allgaier took the blame for the incident.  “I was the cause of the incident, unfortunately.  That one’s on me. I’m super disappointed for everybody involved.  Not only did we wreck our day but a lot of the other competitors. Hate it for those guys. Hopefully we can get to Texas next week and rebound from it.”

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Points leader Christopher Bell, who was also taken out during the first lap crash, credited the new Nascar points format for keeping him alive in the playoffs even after today’s DNF.  “That’s the beauty of this format.  NASCAR’s done such a great job at giving us something to race for during the regular season. We’ve done our job winning six races this year, so we’ve accumulated some bonus points, so hopefully that can carry us through this bad stretch here and maybe we can find ourselves in Victory Lane later on in this round.”

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Daniel Hemric, who led 128 laps during the race, finished in second and leaves Kansas as the series points leader.  Elliott Sadler finished in third and climbed to second in the points standings heading to the next round at Texas Motor Speedway.  Shane Lee and Tyler Reddick wound out the top five.

Photo credits to Yahoo! Sports, Kansas Speedway and NBC Sports

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