HAMPTON, Ga. — In a race that started in chaos and ended in chaos on the final lap, Austin Hill won his third NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the season, beating Daniel Hemric in Saturday’s Raptor King of the Tough 250 by to Atlanta Motorspeedway checkered flag.
With his family in attendance, the Winston, Georgia native led a three-time race-high of 103 laps and dominated an event that featured a record 12 bookings for 68 laps.
NASCAR gave the final yellow on the final lap after a wrecked car erupted as Hill and Hemric neared the finish line.
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Parker Kligerman made it a race until the cars doglegged the front straight on the last lap. At the end of a two-lap sprint to the finish, Kligerman’s Chevrolet spun sideways over the front bumper of Hemric’s car and struck the right rear of Hill’s #21 Richard Childress Racing Chevy.
Hill maintained control and crossed the checkered flag, 0.085 seconds back on Hemric. Kligerman slid backwards across the finish line in fourth while Ryan Truex edged him to third place by 0.001 seconds.
“They knew we were here,” Kligerman radioed to his Big Machine Racing team.
Hill, the defending champion of the race, came to Atlanta with victories at Daytona and Las Vegas and, understandably, the lead in the Xfinity Series. The win was Hill’s second in Atlanta and fifth of his career.
The only thing that rattled Hill all night was contact with the right rear of his car in the final 100 yards.
“I have no idea how I saved getting to the finish,” Hill said after his young daughter ran out to greet him at the finish line. “What a start to the season. Everyone at Richard Childress Racing, ECR engines – we’ve just had such a quick start with Chevrolet. That was definitely something special.”
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Riley Herbst was fifth, followed by Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley.
Hill won the first stage and Kligerman gave Big Machine his first ever stage win on the second.
Josh Williams’ DGM Racing Chevrolet #92 was damaged in an accident on lap 27 involving Kyle Weatherman’s #02 Chevy, and when Williams dropped debris onto the front straight to cause the fourth caution after the subsequent restart on lap 32, NASCAR officials parked him under the damaged vehicle policy.
However, instead of driving his car into the garage, a frustrated Williams parked it at the start/finish line. NASCAR ordered Williams to the trucking company to discuss the incident after he was released from the Infield Care Center. Team owner Mario Gosselin and crew chief No. 92 Bryan Berry have also been summoned for deliberation.
The next Xfinity Series race is scheduled for next Saturday, March 26 (3:30pm ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) at the Circuit of The Americas.
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