By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Myatt Snider is now a NASCAR Xfinity Series winner following Saturday’s Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In his 36th series start, Snider’s No. 2 Tax Slayer Chevrolet Camaro had to redeem himself after a rough restart during the first overtime. The blunder gave two-time NXS champion Tyler Reddick the lead, but a caution for a spin and save by A.J. Allmendinger led to another restart.
When the race resumed one last time, Snider was on top of his game and passed Reddick for the top spot. Snider held off a hungry pack of drivers like Reddick in the final corner to score the win.
Snider’s triumph marked RCR’s first Xfinity Series win since Reddick in 2019, which happened to take place at Homestead as well.
Despite the valiant effort by Reddick, he would be disqualified for failing rear heights, promoting Brandon Jones to second with Daniel Hemric rounding out the top-three.
Myatt Snider – No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Race Winner)
When Snider was promoted to the full-time seat at RCR, delivering strong results would be key to keep his NASCAR career going for a longer period of time.
Beforehand, he has been spending time racing in multiple NASCAR divisions, including a year in the Euro Series in 2019. Even last year, Snider had to split time driving for both RCR and RSS Racing in order to have a shot of making the playoffs.
While a playoff berth didn’t happened, the 26-year-old showed flashes of brilliance with two top-fives and six top-10 finishes. Now with Saturday’s win, I asked him if the current journey was a cultivating moment. Snider responded it felt that way, but only a little bit.
Brandon Jones – No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Runner-Up)
Joe Gibbs Racing had another solid Xfinity race, but not in the same extent like the opening two races. Both Harrison Burton and Ty Dillon failed to finish due to reliability issues, leaving just Jones and Hemric carrying the torch.
Like Snider, Jones didn’t spent a lot of time in first, but got the ball rolling when it mattered most. It was a case of both having a strong Toyota Supra, but also capitalizing on fresh tires.
The latter in particular was the main theme at Homestead as those who pitted had a monstrous advantage on restarts. Those who stayed out, would quickly get dusted.
Jones didn’t have to worry about getting dusted as he was on the prowl during the final restart, scoring another top-five result in this young season.
I asked him how the track conditions on restarts differ in late February compared to the years it ran as the championship race in November.
Daniel Hemric – No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Third)
A third-place finish by Hemric had to be a major sigh of relief.
That’s because his race was marred due to a scary moment on pit road in Stage 1. Hemric overshot his pit, leading to tire carrier Joshua Shipplet being knocked over and right side tires scattering pit road.
Fortunately, no one hit Shipplet or the rolling tires, but it affected Hemric and Denny Hamlin’s Cup crew.
After the race, Hemric apologized for his terrible blunder, knowing that resiliency is vital when dealing with bizarre circumstances.
“First off, I’m so sorry. Those are Denny’s guys for tomorrow and I could hear Chris Gabehart (Hamlin’s crew chief) saying take care of his guys. I did not do that today,” said Hemric. “It was my first time coming down pit road in these cars and I fully underestimated how much front brake I had. Completely on me. I’ve got to be better than that.”
The pit crew bounced back and Hemric re-focused on the race at hand. He said the short runs was his strongest suit, but when it mattered most, a shot towards victory wasn’t meant to be.
“We thought that with experience and such that we could overcome it to be better than we were, but we just struggled,” Hemric on his performance. “I was happy to see those short runs. I felt like our first launch on the first green-white-checkered was better. I think we were going to lineup to have a run for the lead down the backstretch and the caution flew and I just got boxed in on the second one.
“Thought we had the top rolling, but it didn’t work out. Proud of everybody on this Toyota Supra team.”
Tyler Reddick – No. 23 RSS Racing/Our Motorsports Chevrolet (DQ)
Reddick and Homestead go like bread and butter. Prior of being disqualified from his runner-up spot, he had a superb showing in his first NXS start since 2019.
After rain washed out qualifying at Daytona, Reddick’s No. 03 Our Motorsports effort were already in a deep hole. Due to qualifying being limited in 2021, it took two weeks for the driver/team combo to get an opportunity to compete.
They’ve partnered up with RSS Racing’s No. 23 team (driven by Jason White and Natalie Decker thus far) to assure the two-time series champion will run Saturday. The moment the green flag dropped, Reddick wasted no time working his way to the front and in the closing laps, he had a shot of getting a third Homestead win.
Reddick would get beat by Snider on the final overtime restart and at the time, the result was a huge deal for all parties.
I asked him what Saturday’s run meant, explaining the ECR engine with an old JR Motorsports chassis got the job done.
The next Xfinity Series race will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the Alsco Uniforms 300 on March 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
Chase Briscoe won both races at the 1.5-mile circuit last season, but since he’s now full-time in Cup, the competition is wide open.