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Jim Utter

Nemechek passes Kligerman, wins Texas Xfinity race

With Justin Allgaier clinging to a tenuous lead on older tires, Parker Kligerman raced him side-by-side and briefly claimed the lead with seven of 200 laps remaining.

Nemechek, among those who pit for new tires on the under the final caution, joined the battle, got inside of Kligerman and made his move to the front with six to go. He then held off Kligerman by 1.005 seconds to take the win Saturday, his series-leading seventh of the 2023 season.

The victory is the 10th of Nemechek’s career and locks him into the semifinal round of the playoffs regardless of his finish in two weeks at the Charlotte Roval.

“I knew I had to push hard to recover there at the end,” Nemechek said, who lost the lead when a caution came out during a round of green flag pit stops late in the race. “Hats off to this No. 20 team. It’s absolutely amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish this year.

“I don’t think we’re done yet, that’s for sure.”

Sammy Smith finished third, Chandler Smith was fourth and Allgaier ended up fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Cole Custer, Austin Hill, Sheldon Creed, Brandon Jones and Brett Moffitt.

With one race remaining in the Round of 12, the four drivers lowest in the points without a win and in danger of elimination from the playoffs are Sam Mayer, Josh Berry, Jeb Burton and Kligerman, who is just one point below the cutline.

Stage 1

After leading every lap, Allgaier held off Hill by 0.716 seconds to take the Stage 1 win. Custer was third, Trevor Bayne fourth and Nemechek rounded out the top five.

Shortly after the start of the race, first, playoff driver Mayer, and then Riley Herbst, hit the wall and both were knocked out of the race.

Stage 2

Allgaier ran down Custer to reclaim the lead and cruised to a 2.723-second Stage 2. Hill was third, Nemechek fourth and Bayne fifth.

Playoff driver Daniel Hemric got into the frontstretch grass early in the stage, did some damage to his splitter and eventually fell a lap down.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Allgaier the first off pit road. He led Custer and Bayne on the restart with 103 laps remaining in the race.

Just after the restart, Bayne got loose in Turns 3 and 4, spun and triggered a wreck that also collected playoff drivers Berry and Hill.

Custer had reclaimed the lead just before the caution and led the way on the restart with 96 laps to go. A big push from Chandler Smith helped Allgaier to quickly power to the front.

On a restart on lap 115, Chandler Smith knocked Allgaier out of the way and up the track, which allowed Custer to retake the lead. Allgaier fell back to 15th in the running order.

Nemechek got around Custer on a restart with 76 laps remaining to take the lead for the first time in the race.

With 44 laps to go, Custer and Nemechek were the first of the lead-lap cars to hit pit road for a final round of green flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish.

In the midst of the stops, Daniel Dye spun around off Turn 2 which brought out a caution with only seven cars on the lead lap. Allgaier led the way on the restart with 35 laps to go, followed by Hemric. Nemechek lined up eighth.

Debris on the backstretch forced NASCAR to throw a caution with just over 20 laps remaining and sent the lead-lap cars down pit road for new tires.

Without any new tires, Allgaier remained on the track and in the lead. Several lead-lap cars pit with Creed first off pit road. Allgaier led Hill with 17 laps to go.

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