Austin Hill Wins Wreckfest in Atlanta For Third Win of 2023

In the second leg of NASCAR’s Saturday doubleheader, the Raptor 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway accomplished the same undesirable feat as the truck race earlier in the day, as it set the record for the most cautions in an Xfinity Series race at Atlanta with 11. It was a race of attrition as 12 cars failed to finish the race, and several others that did manage to cross the stripe did so with damage of one form or another.

Ultimately the race came down to a green white checker – as is often the case at tracks like Atlanta – after Parker Retzlaff suffered a hard wreck with just a handful of laps to go. A three-way battle between Superspeedway ace Austin Hill, fan-favorite Parker Kligerman, and 2021 Series champion Danie Hemric ensued to decide the winner.

With Kligerman to the outside of Hill coming out of turn four on the final lap, Hemric made contact with the 48’s left rear, turning him into the side of Hill, who somehow managed to maintain control of his Chevrolet. Hemric jabbed the wheel to the right to “finish off” Kligerman and sent him spinning in front of the whole field, but Hill still managed to collect the victory, leaving Hemric to yet again come home p2 – Kligerman finished fourth, sliding backwards across the start/finish line.

The last lap wreck saw Kligerman take a huge shot to the drivers side door from JD Motorsports’ Brennan Poole – an unfortunate end for two small teams that had great runs, as Poole collected JDM’s best finish of the young season in p13. It also saw Justin Haley and Riley Herbst take big shots after crossing the finish line – an unfortunate new reality of this style of racing that *wants* to see the winner decided at the last second, regardless of the cost. Fortunately, all drivers were checked and released from the infield care center, free of injuries.

The win was Hill’s third on the young season, as he finds himself in the points lead by 46 points over John Hunter Nemechek after just five races. Hemric’s p2 was his best finish of the year and his third straight top-10, and pushes him to 10th in points. Ryan Truex again capitalized on his opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing, collecting his second straight top-5 in p3, while Kligerman came home p4 (again… backwards). Riley Herbst rounded out the top-5 prior to wrecking hard after the start/finish line.

Series veteran Justin Allgaier was one of the unfortunate drivers involved in the chaos as he suffered his second straight DNF following an incident with teammate Josh Berry, and he had some very harsh words for the racing. “It’s just not fin ya know – after the reconfiguration of this, to me it’s completely ruined this place. I hope we can figure something out.” He also stated that he was “kind of embarrassed for the sport right now” – which is a strong indictment coming from one of the bonafide stars of the series.

Another story of note from the race was that of Josh Williams, who was involved in an early race wreck that saw his #92 Camaro damaged, but ultimately still drivable. Unfortunately, under caution his car dropped some debris on track – enough that NASCAR deemed he should be parked for the race for “extending the caution”. Needless to say, Williams took great exception to the ruling. So in response, rather than pulling into the garage as instructed, Williams parked his car directly on the start/finish line, climbed out, and walked across the infield waving to the fans, forcing NASCAR to tow the car off the track.

It is expected that Williams will be penalized and fined for the display, though Cup Series star Denny Hamlin has already offered to pay the fin on his behalf.

The series will head to Circuit of the Americas next week for some road course action.


Driver Standings:

Owner Standings:

Photo Credit: Richard Childress Racing Twitter

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: