Nemechek ends Chevrolet's early NASCAR dominance with Xfinity Series win for Toyota at Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — John Hunter Nemechek ended Chevrolet's early dominance by winning the wind-swept Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday in a Toyota.

Chevrolet started the year with seven consecutive victories across NASCAR's three national series, including back-to-back Xfinity Series wins at Daytona and Atlanta by Austin Hill of Richard Childress Racing. But on a day in which teams battled 70 mph wind, Nemechek ended Chevrolet's streak.

Nemechek led five times for a race-high 99 laps to win for Joe Gibbs Racing, which is fielding an Xfinity Series car for Nemechek part-time this season. It was the 10th Xfinity Series win and first at Las Vegas for Nemechek, who now drives a Toyota in the Cup Series for Legacy Motor Club.

Cole Custer started from the pole and the reigning series champion finished second in a Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. Chandler Smith in third after leading 74 of the 200 laps — making Saturday a total Toyota domination.

Hill was fourth, the highest finish by a Chevrolet driver.

Josh Williams of Kaulig Racing tried to win the race with strategy and stayed out on track as long as possible to inherit the lead when the contenders pitted. The strategy might have worked had there been a late caution, but the yellow never came and Williams had to pit with 11 laps remaining.

That put Nemechek back in the lead with a nearly five-second cushion over Hill, who was running second at the time they cycled back to the front. Nemechek's margin of victory was 4.360 seconds over Custer.

The high wind forced Fox Sports to reduce the number of cameras it used for the race. It was unable to shoot from high vantages, including the speedway roof.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing