April 20, 2024

Austin Hill Wins NASCAR Xfinity Race at Daytona; Natalie Decker, Hailie Deegan Make History


In a race that saw no less than 11 cars knocked out due to either accident or NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy, Austin Hill reigned supreme once again on Monday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Hill shined brightest on a weekend dominated by rain and postponements to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series United Rentals 300. The win came in a race that was originally scheduled for Saturday night but not run until after Monday’s Daytona 500 that was won by William Byron.

Hill’s margin of victory was 0.591 second over runner-up Sheldon Creed and marked Hill’s third consecutive season-opening win in the series. Parker Retzlaff, Jordan Anderson and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five. Fourth-place Anderson made up the most ground in race, as he started back in 29th in the 38-car field.

Hill, driving a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, overcame a rough night in the pits for the win.

nascar xfinity series united rentals 300

Sean Gardner//Getty Images

After winning his third straight season-opening race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, it’s clear that Austin Hill has figured out Daytona.

“Three-peat. Do you know how hard it is to win at Daytona?” Hill said after the win. “When I got caught up in the first accident that also hurt my teammate, (pole sitter) Jesse Love, I wasn’t sure how bad the damage actually was. The No. 21 crew did an excellent job of making the repairs without losing a lap and I was able to drive back to the front immediately after.

“I don’t know what was going on with me on pit road today though. I sped on pit road and slid through the box, which put us back in the field once again. I about did it earlier on the first stop, too. My Richard Childress Racing guys kept telling me to dig deep and remember that I’m really good at these superspeedway tracks.

“Winning, especially at Daytona, is a great way to start the season.”

Women Make History

Meanwhile, Chevrolet driver Natalie Decker and Ford driver Hailie Deegan were making a little history of their own. The two women starting the race marked the first time a two women started a NASCAR Xfinity race since Jennifer Jo Cobb and Milka Duno pulled it off at Kansas in 2014. That night, Cobb finished 24 and Duno 40th.

On Monday night, Decker stayed clean to finish on the lead lap in 18th, while Deegan was collected in an early wreck and finished 37th. Decker led seven laps to become the first woman to lead an Xfinity Series race since Danica Patrick in 2013.

Also noteworthy was the finish of Shane van Gisbergen, who won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicago last summer. On Monday, van Gisbergen finished 12 in his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Actor Frankie Muniz, making his first NASCAR Xfinity start, was a victory of early contact and finished 33rd.


NASCAR Xfinity Series

United Rentals 300

Daytona International Speedway

Monday’s Results

1. (2) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 120.

2. (14) Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 120.

3. (9) Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, 120.

4. (29) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 120.

5. (19) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 120.

6. (11) Riley Herbst, Ford, 120.

7. (8) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, 120.

8. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 120.

9. (22) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 120.

10. (3) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 120.

11. (36) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 120.

12. (5) Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, 120.

13. (17) Cole Custer, Ford, 120.

14. (34) Blaine Perkins, Ford, 120.

15. (38) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 120.

16. (23) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 120.

17. (13) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 120.

18. (30) Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 120.

19. (33) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 120.

20. (1) Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, 120.

21. (20) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 120.

22. (31) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 120.

23. (12) Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 119.

24. (10) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 118.

25. (4) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 118.

26. (16) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 118.

27. (26) Daniel Dye(i), Chevrolet, 117.

28. (32) Sage Karam, Toyota, Accident, 111.

29. (7) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, DVP, 109.

30. (24) Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, Accident, 102.

31. (35) Dawson Cram #, Chevrolet, Accident, 51.

32. (27) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Accident, 51.

33. (37) Frankie Muniz, Ford, DVP, 37.

34. (21) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, DVP, 37.

35. (18) Daniel Suarez(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 23.

36. (15) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, Accident, 22.

37. (28) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, Accident, 22.

38. (25) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Accident, 22.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 108.119 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 46 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.591 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 44 laps.

Lead Changes: 19 among 14 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Love # 1-32;A. Allmendinger 33-35;J. Allgaier 36-42;C. Custer 43-48;J. Burton 49-56;A. Hill 57-58;S. Creed 59;A. Hill 60-63;J. Love # 64-65;S. Smith 66-70;R. Herbst 71-73;S. Smith 74;R. Herbst 75-79;S. Creed 80;N. Decker 81-87;R. Ellis 88-98;R. Sieg 99-110;C. Smith 111;J. Anderson 112-117;A. Hill 118-120.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Jesse Love # 2 times for 34 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 12 laps; Ryan Ellis 1 time for 11 laps; Austin Hill 3 times for 9 laps; Jeb Burton 1 time for 8 laps; Riley Herbst 2 times for 8 laps; Natalie Decker 1 time for 7 laps; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 7 laps; Sammy Smith 2 times for 6 laps; Jordan Anderson 1 time for 6 laps; Cole Custer 1 time for 6 laps; AJ Allmendinger 1 time for 3 laps; Sheldon Creed 2 times for 2 laps; Chandler Smith 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,21,48,5,27,18,20,16,7,19

Stage #2 Top Ten: 21,8,18,00,39,19,98,7,16,9

Headshot of Mike Pryson

Mike Pryson covered auto racing for the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot and MLive Media Group from 1991 until joining Autoweek in 2011. He won several Michigan Associated Press and national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for auto racing coverage and was named the 2000 Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club’s Michigan Motorsports Writer of the Year. A Michigan native, Mike spent three years after college working in southwest Florida before realizing that the land of Disney and endless summer was no match for the challenge of freezing rain, potholes and long, cold winters in the Motor City.



Source