July 8, 2023; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver John Hunter Nemechek (20) celebrates after winning Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry – USA TODAY Sports
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After a controversial finale that created internal team drama in Atlanta, the NASCAR Xfinity Series invades New England for the Ambetter Health 200
Kaulig Racing had covered the NASCAR Xfinity Series field in Atlanta, but none of its drivers won the race. Justin Haley led 80 consecutive laps in the final stage until an overtime restart changed everything. Chandler Smith ran out of fuel on the restart, leaving Haley with no writing help behind.
After regaining her momentum, Haley went to pass to her teammate Daniel Heric instead of working together after JOhn Hunter Nemechek. The two teammates battled side by side for second place allowing Nemechek to race ahead and take the win.
Justin Haley’s story is that his car started sputtering because it was running out of fuel, so he pulled to a low stop. He then unhooked Hemric and continued at top speed for an entire lap. Kaulig’s confusion was a welcome sight for John Hunter Nemechek as he earned his third win of the year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Justin Haley says he sputtered and ran out of fuel and that’s why he moved under Daniel Hemric pic.twitter.com/xTyC2RddeV
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverRA) July 9, 2023
Saturday’s Ambetter Health 200 marks the only trip to New England on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Just an hour and a half north of Boston, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway gives racing fans in the Northeast the opportunity to experience the sport.
The track is difficult and challenges the discipline of the pilots. With almost no bank in turns, it can be easy to overshoot the entry with too much speed. The Magic Mile rewards those who can be precise with their line lap after lap. Overtaking is difficult and the pit crews will have to be in top form to keep their position.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is the final proving ground for young drivers looking to the Cup Series. They arrive as talented teenagers who post fast lap times but struggle to put together a full race. Sam Mayer has been a great example of this process over the past few years.
Mayer entered the series with much hype as one of Chevrolet’s top prospects. Finishing races cleanly was difficult at first, but the 20-year-old has found good form in his second full-time season.
Mayer has four top 10s in the last five races including three top 5s. New Hampshire has a history of producing first-time winners and I pick Sam Mayer to be the last.
How to watch – NASCAR Xfinity Series Ambetter Health 200 (all hours ET)
- Training/Qualifying: Friday, July 14, 5:05 p.m. US
- Ambetter Health 200: Saturday, July 15, 3 p.m. on USA