Austin Hill won Daytona International Speedway’s Xfinity Series opener after Myatt Snider’s airborne crash shredding a chunk of catch fence in front of Michael Jordan.
During the final 120 laps of the race, Austin Hill was running second behind A.J. Allmendiger.
As Hill was pulling away from Allmendinger thanks to a nudge from Riley Herbst, chaos broke out when Anthony Alfredo got loose and knocked Myatt Snider’s Chevrolet into the oncoming Jade Buford, overturning Snider’s car in the air. After colliding with the catchfence, the car’s engine and back end were ripped out.
Austin Hill who is in his first full season in the Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing – was named the winner when NASCAR issued an emergency caution that froze the field.
“Man, me and Derek Kneeland, my spotter, worked really well. I was kept telling him all night, ‘I’m just putting that in the memory bank’ to remember late in the race,” Hill said.
“We timed perfectly… Obviously, that caution came out but we had a heck of a run so who knows what would have happened? I was able to drag back and (Herbst) gave me a heck of a push and I was able to get by (Allmendinger).”
“This is so crazy. I won (Daytona) back in 2019 with a new team and now we’re with RCR and it’s the first race with them and we were able to get the job done. I’m speechless. Thanks to all these guys back at RCR for believing in me.”
Jordan and Bubba Wallace were on the backside of the catchfence w hen Snider was hit from behind on the penultimate lap, the field sped past them, leading Snider to crash into the wall.
After being hit by another driver, Snider’s car sailed up into the fence and bounced back onto the track. The car’s shredded wreckage was stripped down to a heap of shattered steel, including the engine block. The infield care facility evaluated all those involved in the last lap wreck and released them.
Austin Hill’s victory secures his spot in the 2022 playoffs, and it’s the second time he’s started a season with a victory at Daytona. With Hattori Enterprises, he won the first race of the 2019 Truck Series at Daytona.
Allmendinger was second, Noah Gragson was third, Herbst was fourth, and Justin Allgaier was fifth.
Sheldon Creed, Anthony Alfredo, Ryan Sieg, Josh Bilicki, and Brandon Brown rounded out the top ten. Six flags slowed the 300-mile race for 28 laps, and nine drivers shared the lead 19 times.
It all began with Alfredo’s persistence when the right side glass of his No. 23 Chevrolet came out in the first laps of the race. The black flag was raised, and Alfredo was two laps down by the time he pitted to replace the window. Alfredo would come back to finish seventh.
With 30 laps to go, the sixth caution of the race occurred when C.J. McLaughlin’s No. 38 became extremely loose and overcorrected, causing a ten-car pileup near the rear of the field. All of the drivers were involved: Brett Moffitt, Hemric, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jesse Iwuji, Shane Lee, McLaughlin, Tommy Joe Martins, Joey Gase, Josh Williams, and Kyle Weatherman.
The race was first halted on Lap 14 when Drew Dollar checked up and lost control of his No. 18 Toyota on the bottom line, smashing into Jeremy Clements’ No. 51 Chevrolet. Both cars sustained significant damage as a result of the collision, and both drivers’ days were cut short.
In the meantime, the Xfinity Series will return to North Carolina to pack the haulers for the West Coast swing before making the long trip to Auto Club Speedway for the Production Alliance 300 next Saturday.