NASCAR Xfinity Series

Austin Hill gets second steak dinner after Beef 300 final lap wreck

4 Mins read
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Austin Hill probably had a feeling of déjà vu when he stood in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway to begin the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Not only was it his second straight win in the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300, but it came following a dramatic flip on the final lap.

Unlike in 2022, Hill was directly involved in the crash this time when Sam Mayer spun off Hill’s front bumper on the backstretch while fighting for the lead and flipped onto his roof. As Mayer slid across the pavement, Hill ran three-abreast with John Hunter Nemechek and Justin Allgaier as the caution came out, with Hill being named the winner as the leader at the moment of the yellow flag following a lengthy review. Complicating matters was Nemechek going below the double-yellow line, which is forbidden at superspeedways unless to avoid a wreck.

“When I turned across my nose, I just figured caution is out, race is over,” said Hill. “But as soon as he turned across my nose, it allowed whoever was behind me—the #31 (Parker Retzlaff), #38 (Ryan Sieg), whoever the car was, I don’t know who it was—it allowed them to get to my bumper, and they just never lifted and they gave me a really big shot and they started pushing me down the back.

“I’m sitting there looking at the green light and looking at the #7 (Allgaier) beside me to see when the yellow light is going to come up, and as soon as I saw the yellow light I looked left, and it looked like I was ahead of the #7, but then I didn’t realise the #20 (Nemechek) is below the double yellow line. I’m like, ‘If they let that go, that’s going to be close between us.’ I was actually just thinking I’m racing the #7. I thought the #20 would get a penalty for going below the yellow, but I’m guessing the reason they let that slide was probably because the wreck happened and it made it to where he was probably trying to miss the wreck type thing.”

Hill won the pole and the first stage, while Allgaier claimed the second. The former has established himself as one of the top superspeedway racers in NASCAR’s national tiers, having also won at the superspeedway-like Atlanta in 2022 while his first Truck Series victory was at Daytona three years prior.

While certainly a great way to begin the Xfinity season, it also comes with some bittersweetness as he had failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 two days prior. Hill admitted as that “as confident as I am on these superspeedways, it does burn that I’m not going to be in the 500 because I truly believe that I could compete with all the Cup guys. I really think that I could go up there, race for a win, and I’m not saying that out of being cockiness or nothing, I just have that confidence in myself. I feel like I see things on the race track that a lot of other people don’t.

“I think when you get in the Cup level, the guys that see the same things I do, that stacks up a lot deeper than what you have in the Xfinity and Truck side. It would be a lot harder, don’t get me wrong, it would be way harder to get a win in the 500, and there’s a lot of people that are really good at what they do that have never achieved it, Hall of Famers that have never achieved it. I can’t sit here and say that I’d just go out there and win the 500, but I think I could compete. So I think that’s one thing that stings a little bit.”

Retzlaff finished a career-best fourth in his first race for Jordan Anderson Racing while Myatt Snider, the previous driver for JAR and the victim of the last-lap wreck in the 2022 race, was a spot behind him. Joe Graf Jr. also notched his best run in seventh for his maiden top ten outside Talladega.

“I don’t want anyone to flip at this race track,” Snider commented, now a part-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing who worked with Nemechek coming to the finish. “I can confirm it is not very fun, but what is fun is racing this Tree Top GR Supra here at Daytona. […] I thought we had it there with John Hunter. I thought I pushed him to the win. I hate it that the #7 pushed him down below the double-yellow line. It was really, really close, but that’s what you deal with here. It’s spots and inches here. It is Daytona.”

True to Daytona, multiple front-runners were taken out in wrecks throughout the day including Hill’s Richard Childress Racing team-mate Sheldon Creed, who qualified fourth but was turned by Parker Kligerman and triggered a wreck that collected Jeffrey Earnhardt and Daniel Hemric. Earnhardt confronted Kligerman after the race, the latter of whom later conceded he had spun Creed “like a dufus” upon seeing the replay.

Race results

1121Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet125Running
2720John Hunter NemechekJoe Gibbs RacingToyota125Running
357Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet125Running
41631Parker RetzlaffJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet125Running
51319Myatt SniderJoe Gibbs RacingToyota125Running
6998Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord125Running
72939Joe Graf Jr.RSS RacingFord125Running
82238Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord125Running
9300Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord125Running
101910Justin Haley*Kaulig RacingChevrolet125Running
112027Jeb BurtonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet125Running
12816Chandler SmithKaulig RacingChevrolet125Running
131745Stefan ParsonsAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet125Running
14119Brandon JonesJR MotorsportsChevrolet125Running
152592Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet125Running
163424Parker ChaseSam Hunt RacingToyota125Running
173851Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet125Running
183653Joey GaseEmerling-Gase MotorsportsFord125Running
191518Sammy SmithJoe Gibbs RacingToyota125Running
202308Gray GauldingSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet125Running
212628Kyle SiegRSS RacingFord125Running
222802David StarrOur MotorsportsChevrolet125Running
23248Parker KligermanBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet125Running
241078Anthony AlfredoB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet125Running
25125Jade BufordBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet125Running
26188Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet125Running
27141Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet124Accident
282444Jeffrey EarnhardtAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet124Running
293225Brett MoffittAM RacingFord124Running
303734Jesse IwujiJesse Iwuji MotorsportsChevrolet110Electrical
313135C.J. McLaughlinEmerling-Gase MotorsportsFord87Accident
323326Kaz GralaSam Hunt RacingToyota82Engine
33216Brennan PooleJD MotorsportsChevrolet81Engine
3442Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet41Accident
353543Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet41Accident
36611Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet20Accident
372707Blaine PerkinsSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet19Accident
38304Bayley CurreyJD MotorsportsChevrolet8Engine
DNQ66Dexter StaceyMBM MotorsportsChevrolet
DNQ91Josh Bilicki*DGM RacingChevrolet
DNQ99Garrett SmithleyB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet
DNQ13Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsToyota
DNQ36Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet
DNQ74Ryan VargasCHK RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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