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Austin Hill Wins Again at Daytona, Survives Wild Finish

Austin Hill probably wishes every race was at Daytona International Speedway.

Hill survived a restart in overtime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ season opener at the track and was declared the winner after a wreck on the last lap that froze the field at the time of caution.

When all was said and done, Hill was shown to be ahead by a nose in front of John Hunter Nemechek and the driver he passed to gain the lead, Justin Allgaier.

It’s Hill’s third career win, all on superspeedway-style tracks. He won the season opener at Daytona in 2022 and followed it up with a victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“I have no idea,” Hill said post-race when asked his thoughts on what happened. “When I chose the outside line, I didn’t feel like the inside line was that great all day for the most part. I just wanted to choose the top. I knew [Anthony Alfredo] would stay with me.

“When I saw the [Nos.] 1 [Sam Mayer] and 7 [Allgaier] get together, I said, ‘You can’t lift. It’s the last lap.’ As soon as the caution light came on, I thought I had it, but it was so close.”

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Parker Retzlaff finished fourth, while Myatt Snider rounded out the top five.

Riley Herbst, Joe Graf Jr., Ryan Sieg, Cole Custer and Jeb Burton completed the top 10.

Hill was supposed to start on the pole for the 120-lap race but started from the rear after having to switch radios while under the pace laps. Instead, Parker Kligerman and Custer led the field to the green.

Allgaier and Nemechek eventually swapped the lead until lap 20, when contact between Blaine Perkins and Mayer sent the former into Daniel Hemric, bringing out the second caution and ending Hemric’s race.

With three laps to go in stage one, Hill made his appearance back at the front, taking the lead and winning the stage.

Sheldon Creed led the field to the green for stage two but was turned into the outside wall, bringing out the fourth caution of the race on lap 40 and causing a multi-car crash.

Allgaier worked his way back to the front after getting damage fixed on his car and passed Mayer with two laps to go to win the second stage.

With 25 laps to go in the race, Hill made his return to the front, passing Josh Berry for the lead. The field stayed single file until two laps to go, when Allgaier made a move to try to take the lead but contact between teammates Berry and Brandon Jones got together and Jones spun, bringing out the seventh caution.

In overtime, coming off turn 2 on the final lap, Mayer made a move for the lead, and after contact from Hill, he spun and flipped on his roof before falling back on all four wheels. He walked to the ambulance under his own power.

Daytona Xfinity Results

Next week the NASCAR Xfinity Series travels West to Auto Club Speedway. Catch the race at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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