Austin Hill wins chaotic Xfinity Series race at Pocono

Austin Hill wins chaotic Xfinity Series race at Pocono

Austin Hill prevailed over the other contenders in a chaotic overtime restart during the Xfinity Series race at Pocono, and he was crowned the victor as the yellow flag came on the very last lap.

Austin Hill won the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday after overcoming a pit road speeding penalty early in the race, taking a chance with his fuel strategy and completing an incredible wheel-to-wheel run to the finish line in overtime. This is Austin Hill’s fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the year.

With only seven races left to determine the 12-driver field, the 29-year-old Georgia native’s outstanding day paired with an uncharacteristically bad day for his closest competitors in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship standings provided him a significant boost in the points.

Before the green flag, he was 33 points behind John Hunter Nemechek, the leader in the championship, but at the finish line, he was only 13 points behind.

Hill had to avoid Josh Berry from JR Motorsports who had been the day’s most dominant driver, after a dramatic and occasionally frantic overtime restart.

On the restart, his No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was in second place and gave Berry a strong push, but Berry lost control and Hill overcame him to take the lead for the first lap of the race.

On the last lap, Berry and JRM teammate Justin Allgaier both collided with the wall in separate incidents, bringing out the yellow flag. Hill eventually won the race under caution.

Berry, who topped all of the crucial race statistics, experienced great loss despite winning both stages for the first time in his career. Additionally, he led a race-high 51 of the 92 laps after starting from pole position for the first time this season.

His No. 8 JRM Chevrolet ran off the circuit while racing Hill and crashed into the wall, bringing out the last caution that stopped the race and forcing him to finish in 24th place.

Hill’s JR Motorsports teammate Sammy Smith came in second with former NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott finishing third. Elliott was driving the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with a paint job honoring his team owner Rick Hendrick’s late son Ricky Hendrick, a well-known NASCAR driver, in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race in two years.

Riley Herbst of Stewart-Haas Racing came in fourth and had a successful fuel-saving bet. Daniel Hemric of Kaulig Racing came in fifth place.

Herbst maintained his position in the championship points race thanks to a commendable effort. He ranks 12th, the last playoff transfer spot, 26 points ahead of Saturday’s ninth-place finisher Parker Kligerman.

Sammy Smith, Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt, Kligerman, and Daniel Suárez who is a regular in the NASCAR Cup Series and a driver for Kaulig Racing, rounded out the top 10.

The regular season championship race took a different turn when Nemechek and third-placed Cole Custer got into a mid-race skirmish. Nemechek struck the wall and washed back across the track, hitting Cole Custer’s Ford in the process. At the start of the event, Custer was sitting in third place in the championship standings.

Just over halfway through the race, Nemechek and Custer were running inside the Top-10 when the race was restarted.

The cars were quickly fixed by both teams but they were no longer competitive for the rest of the race. Nemechek came in 32nd while Custer came in 33rd.

The 12-driver championship field will be determined over the remaining seven races. The Henry 180 on the Road America road circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will be the first race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ return to action next Saturday.

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