Austin Hill nosed ahead of AJ Allmendinger moments before an incident on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway ripped the engine and rear end out of Myatt Snider’s car.
The caution froze the field with Hill the winner of Saturday’s Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start with Richard Childress Racing.
In a large pack, the cars were streaking down the backstretch at the 2.5-mile superspeedway when an aggressive push from Anthony Alfredo’s No. 23 Chevrolet turned Snider’s No. 31 Camaro in front of Jade Buford’s No. 48 Chevrolet. The resulting contact lifted Snider off the track and into the catchfence.
With pieces of his car strewn across the infield, Snider climbed from his destroyed race car in yet another testament to the safety of the vehicles that race at speeds in excess of 180 mph. Snider visited the infield care center, where he was treated and released.
The victory was Hill’s first in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in his 16th start, after he moved from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to a full-time ride with RCR in the Xfinity ranks.
All told, nine cars were involved in the wreck that forced the race to end under the sixth caution of the evening.
Hill developed a strong run on the backstretch and made the winning pass after Allmendinger’s Chevrolet advanced too far in front of the lead pack.
“We timed it perfectly,” an elated Hill said after climbing from his car on the frontstretch. “Obviously, that caution came out, but we had a heck of a run, so who knows what would have happened there.
“I was able to drag back, the 98 (Riley Herbst) gave me a heck of a push, we were able to get by (Allmendinger), and this is so crazy.
“I won (a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener) in 2019 with a new team, now we’re with RCR, first race with them. We were able to get the job done… Man, I’m speechless. (Crew chief) Andy Street, (owner) Richard Childress, just all these guys back at RCR for believing in me. It’s been a fun offseason, and now we get to go race for a championship. Let’s go!”
Allmendinger was credited with his second straight runner-up finish in a Daytona Xfinity Series race.
“I’d have to go see the replay, study it,” Allmendinger said. “I’m sure I will. Kind of kept trying to block both lanes, and it looked like Austin moved up there and timed it perfect where he just got a massive shove, and I probably could have tried to really block, but I think I probably would have wrecked us if I would have done it.
“Seeing there, I’ve got to be better sometimes not getting too far out in the lead. I don’t know, I’ll just keep working on it, man.”
Noah Gragson was third, followed by Herbst and Justin Allgaier. Sheldon Creed, Alfredo, Ryan Sieg, Josh Bilicki and Brandon Brown completed the top 10.
Hill led four times for 23 of the 120 laps, second only to the 38 of reigning series champion Daniel Hemric, who was the victim of a 10-car crash on Lap 91. Hemric finished 28th, four laps down.
Another casualty of the final wreck was Ty Gibbs, who was making his first Xfinity start on the Daytona oval. Gibbs was 11th when the field was frozen by the caution.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action next weekend at Auto Club Speedway for the Production Alliance 300 on Feb. 26.
1. (2) Austin Hill #, Chevrolet, 120.
2. (11) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 120.
3. (14) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 120.
4. (10) Riley Herbst, Ford, 120.
5. (17) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 120.
6. (4) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 120.
7. (16) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 120.
8. (19) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 120.
9. (31) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 120.
10. (13) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 120.
11. (15) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 120.
12. (38) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 120.
13. (21) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 120.
14. (6) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 120.
15. (20) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 120.
16. (7) Josh Berry, Chevrolet, 120.
17. (9) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 120.
18. (8) Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 120.
19. (27) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 120.
20. (25) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 120.
21. (36) Kyle Sieg, Ford, 120.
22. (33) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
23. (3) Jade Buford, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
24. (32) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
25. (18) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, Accident, 119.
26. (28) Joey Gase, Ford, 119.
27. (30) Jesse Iwuji #, Chevrolet, 118.
28. (1) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 116.
29. (29) Joe Graf Jr., Ford, 110.
30. (34) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 105.
31. (24) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Accident, 95.
32. (23) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Accident, 91.
33. (37) Shane Lee, Toyota, Accident, 91.
34. (5) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, Accident, 91.
35. (26) CJ McLaughlin, Ford, Accident, 91.
36. (12) Drew Dollar, Toyota, Accident, 14.
37. (35) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 13.
38. (22) Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, Engine, 11.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 136.605 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 11 Mins, 46 Secs. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.
Caution Flags: 6 for 28 laps.
Lead Changes: 18 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: D. Hemric 0;D. Hemric 1-2;A. Hill # 3-10;D. Hemric 11-33;J. Graf Jr. 34-36;B. Brown 37-48;N. Gragson 49-59;D. Hemric 60-66;T. Gibbs 67;D. Hemric 68-73;T. Gibbs 74-75;J. Berry 76;J. Bilicki 77-86;A. Hill # 87-97;A. Allmendinger 98-102;A. Hill # 103-105;A. Allmendinger 106-117;N. Gragson 118;A. Allmendinger 119;A. Hill # 120.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Daniel Hemric 4 times for 38 laps; Austin Hill # 4 times for 23 laps; AJ Allmendinger 3 times for 18 laps; Brandon Brown 1 time for 12 laps; Noah Gragson 2 times for 12 laps; Josh Bilicki 1 time for 10 laps; Ty Gibbs 2 times for 3 laps; Joe Graf Jr. 1 time for 3 laps; Josh Berry 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,16,98,21,9,54,7,39,68,1
Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,39,1,16,7,68,54,8,19,98