For the second night in a row, a driver has won in his first start for a new team after a wreck on the final lap at Daytona International Speedway. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ case, the winner was new full-timer Austin Hill, giving him the early advantage in the Rookie of the Year battle, while the crash was a scary accident that sent Myatt Snider into the backstretch catchfence.
Hill, now an Xfinity regular for Richard Childress Racing, qualified second next to reigning champion and now-Kaulig Racing driver Daniel Hemric, and the two would trade the lead throughout the opening stage with Hemric winning out. The lone caution of the stage came when Drew Dollar made contact with Jeremy Clements on the backstretch, causing him to slam into the outside wall in a near-identical manner as his wreck in the ARCA Menards Series race earlier on Saturday. A.J. Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, Hill, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown, and Sam Mayer rounded out the top ten.
Dollar, who was making his Xfinity début, garnered criticism from fans who pointed out his aggressive driving style in ARCA has often resulted in incidents. Clements was especially vocal as he tweeted, “That’s what happens when you have guys that buy rides that shouldn’t be out there.”
Stage #2 ran completely green with Brown, the most recent superspeedway winner at Talladega in October, leading. Gragson claimed the lead on lap 49 with help from Sieg, holding the spot for ten laps before an attempted block on Hemric caused him to briefly lose control. Although Gragson saved the car, he lost the lead to Hemric who scored the stage victory. The rest of the top ten consisted of Sieg, Mayer, Allmendinger, Allgaier, Brown, Gibbs, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones, and Herbst.
Hemric continued to lead as the final stage commenced. Mayer lost his rear bumper on lap 84 to warrant a debris caution, which was followed by an even larger reason for a yellow flag when the ensuing restart on lap 91 saw C.J. McLaughlin get loose exiting turn four and spin into the pack. Ten drivers were ultimately involved with other victims including Hemric, Anthony Alfredo, Jesse Iwuji, Joey Gase, Shane Lee, Tommy Joe Martins, Brett Moffitt, Kyle Weatherman, and Josh Williams.
The final green flag waved on lap 98 with Allmendinger leading. The lead would be traded between Chevrolets as Allmendinger battled with Hill and Gragson for the top spot.
On the last lap, Allmendinger had the edge over Hill, who gradually closed the gap as they entered the backstretch. As Hill made his move for the lead, Snider was clipped in front of an oncoming rush of cars and sent into the air, slamming into the catchfence and ripping his engine out which was impacted by Matt Mills. Snider was able to walk away, though he reported a sore leg that he intends to evaluate as next week’s race at Fontana approaches.
Hill took the lead from Allmendinger when the caution came out, granting him the victory. Interestingly, Hill also won the 2019 Camping World Truck Series season opener in his first race for Hattori Racing Enterprises. He is the first rookie to win the first race of his ROTY campaign since Tyler Reddick in 2018.
“I have never really saw myself as a superspeedway racer, honestly,” commented Hill. His two previous Xfinity superspeedway starts at Daytona and Talladega in 2020 with HRE ended in wrecks, as did his last Truck start at Talladega in 2021. “But if you look back at results and look at kind of how I’ve ran the past couple years, the finishes and kind of where I’m running has shown that I kind of get around superspeedway racing decent.”
Richard Childress Racing also scored its first Daytona Xfinity win by a non-Cup Series driver; the team’s five prior victories at the superspeedway, including three in the fall race, have come with Cup regulars in Dale Earnhardt Jr. (twice), Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, and Tony Stewart. Childress expressed confidence in the team’s Xfinity programme, which is once again at two full-time cars for the first time since 2018, explaining that he believes Hill and team-mate Sheldon Creed are “going to make two great partners out there racing. I seen it tonight. Sheldon has got a lot of talent as well, and I think we’ll see a lot out of him.
“I’m excited. I’m as excited about the Xfinity as I was when we had Tyler come in and we won a championship with him and backed it up. It’s just cool to have these calibre of drivers in there.”
|1||2||21||Austin Hill||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|2||11||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|3||14||9||Noah Gragson||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|4||10||98||Riley Herbst||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||120||Running|
|5||17||7||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|6||4||2||Sheldon Creed||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|7||16||23||Anthony Alfredo||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|8||19||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||120||Running|
|9||31||36||Josh Bilicki||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|10||13||68||Brandon Brown||Brandonbilt Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|11||15||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||120||Running|
|12||38||26||Ryan Truex||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||120||Running|
|13||21||66||J.J. Yeley||MBM Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|14||6||10||Landon Cassill||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|15||20||24||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||120||Running|
|16||7||8||Josh Berry||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|17||9||19||Brandon Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||120||Running|
|18||8||6||Ryan Vargas||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|19||27||27||Jeb Burton||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|20||25||4||Bayley Currey||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||120||Running|
|21||36||28||Kyle Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||120||Running|
|22||33||31||Myatt Snider||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||119||Accident|
|23||3||48||Jade Buford||Big Machine Racing Team||Chevrolet||119||Accident|
|24||32||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||119||Accident|
|25||18||5||Matt Mills||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||119||Accident|
|26||28||53||Joey Gase||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Ford||119||Running|
|27||30||34||Jesse Iwuji||Jesse Iwuji Motorsports||Chevrolet||118||Running|
|28||1||11||Daniel Hemric||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||116||Running|
|29||29||07||Joe Graf Jr.||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||110||Running|
|30||34||1||Sam Mayer||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||105||Running|
|31||24||78||Josh Williams||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||95||Accident|
|32||23||92||Kyle Weatherman||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||91||Accident|
|33||37||35||Shane Lee||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Toyota||91||Accident|
|34||5||02||Brett Moffitt||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||91||Accident|
|35||26||38||C.J. McLaughlin||DGM Racing||Ford||91||Accident|
|36||12||18||Drew Dollar||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||14||Accident|
|37||35||51||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing||Chevrolet||13||Accident|
|38||22||45||Caesar Bacarella||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||11||Engine|
|DNQ||08||David Starr||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford|
|DNQ||90||Alex Labbé||DGM Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||99||Stefan Parsons||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||91||Mason Massey||DGM Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||33||Natalie Decker||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota|
|DNQ||47||Gray Gaulding||Mike Harmon Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||77||Ronnie Bassett Jr.||Bassett Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||52||Harrison Rhodes||Jimmy Means Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||74||Tim Viens||Mike Harmon Racing||Chevrolet|