Race Weekend Central

Austin Hill Dominates Atlanta Xfinity Race for 3rd Win of 2023

Austin Hill held off challenges from Parker Kligerman and Daniel Hemric to win his third race of the 2023 season and the fifth of his career on Saturday (March 18) evening, in a race that featured an Xfinity Series-record 12 cautions at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With three wins in the first five races, Hill joins Mark Martin and Kyle Busch as the only Xfinity drivers to accomplish the feat.

A crash by Parker Retzlaff with eight laps to go left a two-lap dash to the finish, and Hill narrowly held off Kligerman and Hemric as all three made contact out of turn 4. Hill cruised to the win while Kligerman spun off of Hemric’s bumper in front of the pack. A huge crash then ensued after the finish.

“I knew it was going to be tough today, it just seemed like the guys could get really good runs, a lot different than last year’s race,” Hill told FS1 after the race. “I knew when I got the lead, it was checkers or wreckers.”

Hemric finished second while Ryan Truex finished third for his second-straight top-five finish. Kligerman crossed the finish line backward in fourth, while Riley Herbst, who was swept up in the crash, rounded out the top five.

See also
Contact with Daniel Hemric Costs Parker Kligerman Shot at Atlanta Win

Brett Moffitt ran in the top 10 all day and finished sixth, while Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley rounded out the top 10.

Sammy Smith and Nemechek started the race from the front row. Nemechek took the lead on lap one, and an immediate caution then flew for a crash between Caesar Bacarella and Joey Gase.

Daytona winner Hill took over the lead on lap 11 before Jeffrey Earnhardt, Kaz Grala and Garrett Smithley brought out the second caution on lap 12.

The most notable incident of the race came on lap 33, when Josh Williams littered a piece of debris on the track after being involved in an earlier crash.

NASCAR ordered the No. 92 car behind the wall, and Williams responded by parking his car at the start-finish line under caution and walking across the trioval grass into the infield. He was sent to the NASCAR hauler for the incident.

Hill kept the lead and led until turn the final turn of stage one, when teammate Sheldon Creed got a push from Nemechek and beat Hill to the line by inches.

After pit stops, Anthony Alfredo and Brandon Jones led the field to green to begin stage two.

There were five cautions in stage one, while stage two was much of the same with another four. Jones led the most laps of stage two, but Kligerman made a run on the outside and passed Jones for the lead while Justin Allgaier crashed on the backstretch. Kligerman went on to win stage two under caution.

After pitstops, the final stage started with Kligerman and Moffit on the front row.  Herbst then took the lead for 10 laps before Hill made his way back to the front on lap 98. Herbst challenged back and led lap 99 before Hill took the lead for good on lap 100.

The 10th caution on lap 117 for Kyle Sieg and Patrick Emerling brought most of the leaders down pit road. Hill retained the lead, and he soon found himself trying to keep a two- and even three-wide pack at bay behind him.

Retzlaff crashed with eight to go, setting up the chaotic dash to the finish.

Hill and Kligerman cleared the field on the restart, and the duo was running 1-2 single file as the white flag flew. Hemric and the rest of the pack caught up to them, and Hill then had to block both lanes on the backstretch.

Kligerman pulled even with Hill through turns 3 and 4, and contact from Hemric sent Kligerman spinning in front of the field while Hill was the first car to cross the stripe, taking contact but keeping his car pointed in the right direction.

NXS Results at Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Xfinity Series will return to Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, March 25 at 5:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

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