Austin Hill Dominates Atlanta For Third Xfinity Series Win Of 2023by Hunter Thomas March 18, 2023 1 comment
HAMPTON, Ga. – Austin Hill dominated the RAPTOR King of Tough 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and beat the field to the line to win as drivers scattered and crashed.
On the final restart of the night with two laps to go, it was Daniel Hemric and the low side and Hill on the high side leading the field to the green flag. A steady push by Parker Kligerman propelled Hill to the lead as they exited Turn 2 and headed down the backstretch.
“I felt like the race raced way different than last year,” Hill said. “I don’t know if it was just the rear package change through the off-season going into this season or what it was but guys could get really big runs, and it was really hard to defend. Normally, if I’m leading, I can kind of keep somewhat of a bubble on my car, and they couldn’t really break the bubble, and tonight, it was almost obsolete.”
Hill had command of the final lap until Turn 3, when he was pressured by Kligerman. Once onto the frontstretch for the final time, contact from Hemric, sent Kligerman into Hill. Hill hung on and crossed the finish line first, while Hemric spun Kilgerman, igniting a big crash.
“When we had the last restart, going into (Turn) 3, I thought I had messed up,” Hill said. “My spotter was telling me the 11 (Hemric) was coming hard, so I went bottom, and me and him both, I don’t think we realized how fast the 48 (Kligerman) was coming, and when he got to the outside, I just shot right back down to the bottom, grabbed the 11 and got him to start pushing me. Then obviously mayhem happened off the corner. I don’t know how I saved it or anything like that.”
The win marked Hill’s third victory this season, and on Saturday, he won Stages 1 and 3, and he led a race high of 103 laps. The victory is also his second on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s new configuration.
“I think having a fast race car helps a lot on these superspeedways,” Hill said. “I don’t think it’s circumstantial that we were in this position again.”
Hill continued and said, “Tonight, we had to come from the back. During Stage 2, we fell back just because of the way the pit sequence unfolded after Stage 1, a lot of people stayed out and flipped the stage and stuff, so we had to go to the back, and we still drove up to the front.”
Daniel Hemric finished second, followed by Ryan Truex. Kligerman spun across the line in fourth. Riley Herbst completed the top-five. Rounding out the top-10 was Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek who rallied from a late-race spin, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley.
There were 13 lead changes among eight drivers.
The RAPTOR King of Tough 250 featured quite of a few cautions. The caution came out on 12 occasions for 68 laps. In fact, there were only 95 green flag laps.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, March 25. Live coverage of the Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today will broadcast on FS1.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com