Photo: Logan T. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Blocking Goes Haywire for John Hunter Nemechek at Fontana

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Auto Club Speedway was once again unkind to John Hunter Nemechek, who took a heavy shunt past the start/finish line on the 84th lap of Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 in Fontana, California, and will be credited with a 28th place result.

Already dealing with adversity such as a brush in the Turn 4 wall during Stage 1 and later in Stage 2, he lost a lap by pitting for a vibration, but would have a decent recovery and saw himself battling Justin Haley for the free pass.

However, Nemechek wouldn’t get the beneficiary after Noah Gragson made an unscheduled pit stop and was the first car one lap down after the stage wrapped up.

Nemechek restarted 16th for the final stage and would get involved in an intense battle between Gragson, Haley, Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg for a few laps until Haley got completely sideways, but saved it. Therefore, the battle fizzled down to four cars where Cindric had a strong run off Turn 4 and got by Nemechek.

Sieg also went low to follow Cindric, but Nemechek immediately made his move to the bottom as well. That’s where Nemechek’s blocking went wrong as Sieg turned Nemechek’s No. 23 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet Camaro around, lifting his cars before slamming the tail end of the infield wall.

The heavy impact darted his car back across the track where his right front made significant contact towards the Turn 1 racing wall.

The incident led to an extremely angry Cindric calling out his spotter Josh Williams for putting him in a terrible spot with Nemechek and Sieg that could’ve also resulted his day to be over.

Nemechek reported over the radio that he was alright and got out of his car, but his DNF would mark the second of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, and the first since Indianapolis last September.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.