DAYTONA, Fla. – Austin Hill won the Xfinity series season-opener at Daytona for his first career Xfinity win in his first race for Richard Childress Racing. Using a run down the backstretch on the final lap thanks to a push from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst, Hill was able to swoop to the inside of race leader A.J. Allmendinger and held serve until a race-ending caution flag was displayed after a melee ensued behind the leaders.
Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 31 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet, was sent airborne into the backstretch catchfence in the scary, fiery wreck. He was treated and released from the infield care center and said his left foot is sore. He was scored in 22nd place.
“We timed it perfectly. Obviously that caution came out but we had a heck of a run, so who knows what would have happened there,” an elated Hill said after climbing from his car.
“I was able to drag back, the (No.) 98 gave me a heck of a push, we were able to get by him (Allmendinger), and this is so crazy. … Now we're with RCR, first race with them. We were able to get the job done.”
Hill admitted he thought the bottom lane would prevail and that he was "out of it," but it eventually worked out in his favor.
"Coming to the white (flag), the inside lane was moving pretty good, but I was able to suck the 9 (of Noah Gragson) back a little bit. ... The thing that helped me most was the 16 (of Allmendinger) had a two-or-three car-length gap and he got way too far out in front. There was nothing he could do to block the run I had."
Defending champion Daniel Hemric swept the stages and led a race-high 38 laps but got caught up in a 10-car wreck on the frontstretch on Lap 92, resulting in a 28th place finish.
In all there were six cautions for 28 laps (three for incident and one for debris in addition to the stage-ending cautions), and 21 of the 38 cars finished on the lead lap.
Allmendinger was runner-up, while Gragson, Herbst and Justin Allgaier completed the top-five.
Rounding out the top-10 were Sheldon Creed in sixth, Anthony Alfredo in seventh, Ryan Sieg in eighth, Josh Bilicki in ninth and Brandon Brown in 10th.
The Xfinity series returns to action next Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in California. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET on FS1.