Double at Daytona: Hill Wins Amid Scary Last Lap Flip

In an eerie moment of deja vu, Austin Hill went back to back at Daytona after Sam Mayer flipped on the backstretch. 

It wasn’t easy for the pole sitter though, as he had to forfeit his starting position due to radio issues on the pace laps. Taking his place up front was Cole Custer with Parker Kligerman on the outside. 

Custer’s #00 jumped to the lead on the first lap until Justin Allgaier in the #7 took the lead the lap after and began to swap the top spot with John Hunter Nemechek in the #20. 

The first caution of the day flew on lap eight, as Bayley Currey’s #4 suffered a blown engine. 

We returned to action on lap 12 as Allgaier and Nemechek immediately went to war, swapping the lead multiple times throughout the laps. 

Lap 20 saw the first accident of the day, as Mayer in the #1 tried to squeeze between the #11 of Daniel Hemric and the #07 of Blaine Perkins, turning the #07 down the track and into the ‘21 Champion. Both drivers, who were running in the top-15, had their day ended. 

Green flew again on lap 23 with Justin Haley in the #10 leading, and the #21 having stormed his way to the front to take the lead on lap 27. The Georgian managed to hold off a challenge from both the #7 and rookie Chandler Smith for the first stage win of the year. 

Stage 1 Results

  1. #21 Austin Hill
  2. #16 Chandler Smith 
  3. #7 Justin Allgaier
  4. #10 Justin Haley
  5. #27 Jeb Burton
  6. #2 Sheldon Creed
  7. #8 Josh Berry
  8. #48 Parker Kligerman
  9. #20 John Hunter Nemechek
  10.  #19 Myatt Snider

The race returned to green conditions with the #1 and #2 of Sheldon Creed out front. 

A few laps later however, Creed received a bad push from the #48 behind him which sent him into his teammate and then back up the track into the frontstretch wall. The #7 was spun while trying to avoid. Behind this pack, the #45 of Stephan Parsons, who was filling in for Caesar Bacarella, was spun by his teammate Ryan Ellis, Ellis was out but the #45 could continue. 

Once we were sent to green again on lap 46, Kligerman and Mayer swapped the lead a handful of times until the #7 and #21 made their way back to the point. Allgaier held off a charge from his teammate and scored the win in the second stage, as Jeb Burton’s #27 was turned into the #18 of Sammy Smith. Smith was spun into the infield but was able to continue on.  

Stage 2 Results

  1. #7 Justin Allgaier
  2. #1 Sam Mayer
  3. #21 Austin Hill
  4. #9 Brandon Jones
  5. #25 Brett Moffitt
  6. #8 Josh Berry
  7. #98 Riley Herbst
  8. #20 John Hunter Nemechek
  9. #00 Cole Custer
  10.  #27 Jeb Burton

The final stage restarted with both stage winners lining up on the front row, Allgaier jumped out front and commanded the field until pit stops. 

On lap 74, the majority of Chevy drivers came to pit, with Kligerman spinning on his way on entry but managing to carry on. One lap later, the Ford and Toyota drivers made their way into the pits. Once everything cycled through, the #8 of Josh Berry was placed into the lead with Hill, Allgaier, Mayer, and Herbst in tow and a second pack led by the JGR pair of the #19 and #20 who caught up to form a 15 car line on the top lane. 

The 15 car breakaway was put to an end when the #35 of CJ McLaughlin had an accident on lap 89 and tore the front end from his car. 

Going green again on lap 94, the #21 and #8 lined up to take the green, with Berry out front for a short while until Hill retook the lead and the field began to form up on the outside, with all four JRM cars in position to hang out Hill when the time came.

The cars clicked the laps away in a single file train on the top, with a few cars to the rear of the field trying to make some moves. Kligerman tried to gradually increase his position, and tried to clear himself on the #44 of Jeffrey Earnhardt, putting Earnhardt into the wall with a flat tire. The #25 of Moffitt, who was also running well all day, had an issue and was forced out of line. 

With two to go, the move was made. Allgaier took second from the #8 going into 1, causing the field to jumble up. On the backstretch while trying to make a move, Brandon Jones spun himself off the nose of the #8, causing an overtime restart. 

Under the ensuing caution, the #8 of Berry ran out of fuel, concerning all drivers who stopped on lap 74, including teammate Justin Allgaier. 

The final restart was underway with the two dominant cars of Hill and Allgaier up front. At the white flag, the #7 led with the #1 behind him. In turn 2, Mayer made his move, going around the outside of Allgaier and nearly into the wall. He left the door open in the middle as Austin Hill poked his nose through and Mayer was too late to cover and was turned into the outside wall and upside down, before landing back on his wheels in the grass. Mayer got out of the car and was okay. The caution was thrown moments later with the #7, #20 and #21 side three-wide at the moment of caution. 

After a few moments of deliberation, NASCAR officials declared Austin Hill as the winner for the second year in a row in the season opener.

Behind the top-three, Parker Retzlaff finished fourth in his first full time year and Myatt Snider in the #19 in fifth. 

Featured image credits: NASCAR Xfinity on Twitter

Published by Joe Sell

Joe is a writer from Poole, UK. He is a fan of anything with four wheels and an engine and his favorite drivers are Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. Outside of racing, he enjoy watching sports and listening to country music.

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