After picking up his first pole award and leading 115 laps on the day, Chandler Smith seemed to have things all sewn up late in the race – he was well on his way to his first career Xfinity Series win.
But gradually, RCR’s Austin Hill chipped away over the long green flag run to the finish following the final round of pit stops. A tenth here, a few hundredths there – little by little Hill cut into the lead that had been over 3 seconds at one point. Before you knew it, Hill was right to the back bumper of the rookie, and a small mistake by Smith in turn four coming to the white flag opened the door for Hill to squeeze to the inside, and that was all she wrote as Austin Hill cruised to his fourth career Xfinity Series victory.
Despite a dominant performance, Smith would have to settle for third, as Justin Allgaier was also able to get around him on the final lap. Still, the performance is nothing to be ashamed of, as it still marks a career best finish, and is Smith’s second straight top-5 for Kaulig Racing.
Kyle Busch was denied an opportunity at a weekend sweep after coming home fourth. After winning yesterday’s Truck Series race, Busch was unable to replicate that dominant performance, and instead had to settle for being “competitive, but just a tick off”.
Josh Berry rounded out the top-5, as he now turns his attention to tomorrows Cup Series race where he is set to fill in for an injured Chase Elliott. John Hunter Nemechek looked like the car to beat early as he won the first stage and led 45 laps, but a pit road miscue took him out of contention and he would have to settle for a p6 finish.
Sam Mayer picked up his second top-10 of the year in p7, Riley Herbst collected his third straight top-10 in p8 (and now sits 5th in points), and Sheldon Creed & Daniel Hemric both collected their first top-10’s of the year in p9 and p10 respectively.
All told it was a fairly tame race, causing very little attrition with only one DNF (Joey Gase, mechanical issue). Parker Kligerman went for a spin early which prompted a caution, but did not receive any damage and rebounded for a solid p11 finish. Josh Berry and Rajah Caruth also went for damage-free spins of their own that both yielded cautions. Outside of that, it was an exceptionally clean race, with no cautions in the races final stage.
The Xfinity Series heads to Phoenix next week for the fourth race of the young season.