Daytona Xfinity race: Austin Hill wins in RCR debut


When Austin Hill was announced to move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing, he said he’d been “working hard for an opportunity like this since [he] was a young kid.”

He’s already making the most of it.

Hill passed A.J. Allmendinger for the lead on the last lap before a multi-car crash on the backstretch brought out a caution to freeze the field – giving Hill his first career Xfinity win on debut for RCR.

MORE: Daytona Xfinity race results, driver points

In the moments after, however, attention wasn’t on Hill but on one of the drivers involved in the crash.

Myatt Snider, driving for Jordan Anderson Racing, was pushed into the backstretch wall before his car went airborne and struck the catch fence.

The impact destroyed both ends of the car. But after it came to rest, Snider was able to climb out and walk away.

Allmendinger finished second. Noah Gragson was third. Riley Herbst and Justin Allgaier completed the top five.

“Me and (spotter) Derek Kneeland worked really well tonight,” Hill said. “I was learning all night. I was telling him, ‘Hey, I’m putting that in the bank, I’m putting that in the bank – I’m just putting that in the memory bank to remember for late in the race.’

“We timed (the pass) perfectly. Obviously, that caution came out but we had a heck of a run, so who knows what would’ve happened there. I was able to drag back, (Herbst) gave me a heck of a push, we were able to get by (Allmendinger).”

Allmendinger said he could’ve tried to stop Hill’s run but added: “I think I probably would’ve wrecked us had I done it.”

“I’ve got to be better sometimes at not being too far out there in the lead,” he continued. “I’ll just keep working on it. It’s disappointing.”

Reigning series champion Daniel Hemric won both stages and led a race-high 38 laps from pole position. But he was penalized for speeding on pit road during a stop under the caution at Lap 85 (his stop was already an extended one due to repairs to his car’s nose).

Hemric started mid-pack for the ensuing restart at Lap 91. Less than a lap later, he was involved in a 10-car wreck that started with a spin off Turn 4 by C.J. McLaughlin.

With his car further damaged, Hemric continued on but finished four laps down in 28th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Sheldon Creed, who also moved up to RCR’s Xfinity program over the offseason, finished sixth in his own debut for the team … Involvement in the Snider wreck dampened an otherwise great drive for Anthony Alfredo, who rallied from two laps down to finish seventh. Alfredo fell off the lead lap in the race’s opening laps after a window fell off the right side of his Our Motorsports entry … Josh Bilicki led 10 laps during pit cycles and went on to finish ninth.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: A few hours after crashing on the last lap of the ARCA race, Drew Dollar was involved in the Xfinity race’s first wreck at Lap 15. Cars stacked up ahead of Dollar, causing him to lose control and take Jeremy Clements into the backstretch wall. Both drivers were eliminated. Dollar, who made his Xfinity debut with Joe Gibbs Racing summed it up as “kind of unfortunate circumstances.” Clements tweeted: “That’s what happens when you have guys that buy rides that shouldn’t be out there.”

NOTABLE: Hill is the ninth driver to score their first Xfinity win while driving for Richard Childress Racing.

NEXT: Auto Club Speedway – Saturday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m. ET, FS1

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.