NASCAR Xfinity Series: Austin Hill Survives Final-Turn Crash, Wins Before Hometown Crowd At Atlanta

xfinity sreies race spring atlanta 2023 (1)

Racing about an hour from his hometown, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Hill overcame a Turn 4 scare to score a hometown hat trick during the caution-filled Raptor King of Tough 250 Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Hill, a Winston, Georgia native, withstood a series-record 11 cautions, securing his third win in five events this season. He is just the third driver in Xfinity history to accomplish the feat, joining Mark Martin (1997 and 2000) and Kyle Busch (2011, ‘13 and ‘16).

“That was a tough one to win,” Hill said during a live post-race interview with Fox Sports.

Tough, but considering Parker Kligerman finished P4 while spinning backward, “this is so special,” he said.

Austin Hill: ‘I Thought I Messed Up’ But Ending Was ‘Cool’

In a race that he led three times for a race-high 103 rotations, Hill entered the front stretch dogleg battling Parker Kligerman and Daniel Hemric for the lead. While the outside lane was the chosen groove, Hill was on the inside and “I thought I messed up,” he said. “The outside is where you needed to be.”

But, after Kligerman, who was racing on the outside, got loose and touched Hill’s Chevrolet, Hill, somehow, was able to keep control. As Kligerman spun out, Hill maintained forward momentum and beat Hemric to the start/finish line by .085 seconds.

“I don’t know how I saved it,” Hill said, “but it will be cool to watch.”

Ryan Truex, who placed a career-best P2 at Phoenix last Saturday, placed third on his birthday, edging out Kligerman by .001 seconds.

Hill has captured the spring race at Atlanta for the second straight season. Following Saturday’s victory burnouts, Hill was greeted by his young daughter running through the infield.

Justin Allgaier: ‘I Have Nothing Good To Say’

On the final overtime lap, Hill said he was going for “wreckers or checkereds,” meaning he was going to Victory Lane for the second year in a row or his Richard Childress Racing machine was going to be towed off the familiar 1.54-mile track.  

“Growing up in Georgia, I knew it would be tough,” Hill said.   

But did he realize how tough a final OT lap it was going to be? 

“When the 48 (Kligerman) hit me in the right rear, I thought I was headed for the outside wall,” Hill said. “But I was able to gather it up and bring it on home. This is so special.” 

Not so much for Justin Allgaier, who crashed out and spoke out. 

“It’s pretty sad honestly,” said Allgaier, who placed 29th. “I’m kind of embarrassed for the sport right now. The (track) does not have a lot of grip and everyone is just holding on for dear life. 

“I have nothing good to say.”

Maybe he should talk to Hill.

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