Austin Hill continued his dominance at Daytona International Speedway, winning his third consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener.

Hill powered past Jordan Anderson on a restart with three of 120 laps remaining and held off Chandler Smith by 0.591 seconds to win Monday night’s rain-delayed race that was marred by several multi-car wrecks.

Hill’s Daytona three-peat did not come easily as the driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was involved in an early-race accident and multiple issues on pit road, including a speeding penalty.

The win is the seventh of Hill’s career and locks him into the 2024 series playoffs just one race into the season.

“This tops it all. I mean, a three-peat? You know how hard it is to win at Daytona? God, Almighty,” Hill said. “I don’t know what was going on with me on pit road today, but my guys just kept telling me I was good at these superspeedways. I kept trying to screw it up on pit road, still.

“Thank you to all these fans that stuck it out. I don’t even know what time it is. I just know it’s past my bedtime but we’re about to party tonight, I can tell you that.”

Anderson ended up third, Parker Retzlaff was fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 were Riley Herbst, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones and A.J. Allmendinger.

Stage 1

Pole-winner Jesse Love held off his teammate Hill in a one-lap dash to claim the Stage 1 win. Parker Kligerman was third, Anthony Alfredo was fourth and Jeb Burton rounded out the top five.

A four-car wreck set up the final restart and knocked out several drivers from the race early, including Daniel Suarez, Sam Mayer, Hailie Deegan and Kyle Weatherman.

Stage 2

Hill passed Sheldon Creed on the final lap then held off Sammy Smith to capture the Stage 2 victory. Creed ended up third, Cole Custer fourth and Ryan Sieg rounded out the top five.

Some tense three-wide racing on lap 37 turned into an 11-car accident that collected several contenders for the win, including three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen and Kligerman.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of drivers elected to pit, but Hill remained on the track and in the lead when the race returned to green on lap 67.

A final round of green flag pit stops got under way with 44 laps to go as drivers took on new tires and enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Before all the cars had made their final stop, Burton spun off Turn 4 on lap 97 after contact from van Gisbergen which brought out the seventh caution of the race.

Several drivers hit pit road, including those who had not yet pit. Sieg was the first not to pit and inherited the lead when the race returned to green with 18 laps remaining.

A three-car accident on the backstretch on lap 103 set up another restart with 11 laps to go and Sieg still out front and leading Herbst and Custer.

Herbst quickly grabbed the lead but was penalized for a restart violation. Before he could serve his penalty, another multi-car wreck erupted on the backstretch that collected Custer, Allgaier and Sage Karam among others.

With the penalty and wreck, Anderson inherited the lead and led the way on the restart with three laps to go.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published