Nemechek leads final practice, prepares for first Xfinity race

Brandon+Jones%2C+driver+from+Atlanta%2C+talks+with+Dana+Gould+after+the+second+Xfinity+Series+practice+session.+Jones%2C+in+the+No.+19+Menards%2FJeld-Wen+Toyota%2C+rounded+out+the+top+five+with+a+speed+of+175.950+mph%2C+31.509+seconds.+

Lilly Carter

Brandon Jones, driver from Atlanta, talks with Dana Gould after the second Xfinity Series practice session. Jones, in the No. 19 Menards/Jeld-Wen Toyota, rounded out the top five with a speed of 175.950 mph, 31.509 seconds.

Ashton Long, Staff Writer

John Hunter Nemechek, driving the No. 42 Fire Alarm Services Inc. Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished out the second practice of the day for the NASCAR Xfinity Series with the best speed of 178.516 mph, 31.056 seconds. Nemechek ran the most laps of the session with 49.

We ran a lot of laps because of the long-run speed fall off here.”

— John Hunter Nemecheck

“These are my first laps ever in an Xfinity car and we want me to get used to it,” Nemechek said. “I feel comfortable with all my guys, and the first time in, you have to feel comfortable with it.”

Christopher Bell, who led the first practice session, ran second with a speed of 177.164 mph, 31.293 seconds in the No. 20 Ruud Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Bell ran a total of 24 laps. Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, ran third with a speed of 176.887 mph, 31.342 seconds. Ty Dillon ran fourth with a speed of 176.887 mph, 31.443 seconds. Brandon Jones, in the No. 19 Menards/Jeld-Wen Toyota, rounded out the top five had a speed of 175.950 mph, 31.509 seconds.

“We ran a lot of laps because of the long-run speed fall off here,” Nemechek said. “The race track wears the tires out really fast. You’ll slow down in seconds within 20 laps.”

Bell, who after the first practice spoke about the need for long-run speed, finished second on the speed chart for ten-lap averages with a speed of 172.404. Only Nemechek could top that, averaging 172.687 mph in a ten-lap span on fresh tires. Kyle Benjamin in the No. 18 PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, ran third in ten-lap averages with a speed of 172.192 mph.

Richard Childress Racing had both cars in the top six with Dillon fourth and Matt Tifft, driver of the No. 2 Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet, finishing sixth. All three Toyotas from Joe Gibbs Racing finished in the top-ten for the session.

Two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series drivers will pull double-duty this weekend. Joey Logano, who drives the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford for Team Penske, finished 11th with a speed of 174.890 mph, 31.700 seconds. Kevin Harvick ran 13th with a speed of 174.526, 31.766 seconds in the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing Racing. 

For Georgia drivers, Garrett Smithley, No. 15 for JD Motorsports, placed 28th overall in the second session with a speed of 168.015 mph, 32.997 seconds. Ryan Sieg, driver of the No. 39 Georgia Metals Inc./Atlanta Compressor Chevrolet for RSS Racing, ended in 30th overall with a speed of 167.863 mph, 33.027 seconds.

Qualifying for the Xfinity Series starts at 9:10 a.m. tomorrow morning.