Daytona Xfinity race: Austin Hill wins in RCR debut

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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