HAMPTON, Ga. (AP)Austin Hill continued his dominant start to the NASCAR Xfinity season, holding off Daniel Hemric at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night for his third win in five races.
Hill overcome a record-setting day of cautions in doubleheader Xfinity and truck series races. There were 11 cautions, the most for an Xfinity race in Atlanta, knocking out 12 drivers.
Hill previously collected Xfinity wins at Daytona on Feb. 18 to open the season and at Las Vegas on March 4. Hill, a native of Winston, Georgia, added a home-track win to his strong start for the Richard Childress Racing team.
The final caution came with eight laps remaining and Hill holding a slim lead over Parker Kligerman in a battle of Chevrolets. The race resumed with two laps remaining and Hill held on as Kligerman wrecked before the finish line and finished fourth. Ryan Truex was third.
“I knew I had it when I came across the line,” Hill said. “Before that I had no idea.”
The chaos near the finish line threatened to take the win from Hill.
“I have no idea how I saved it at the line,” Hill said. “I got hit in the right rear.”
One of the cautions led a frustrated Josh Williams to make an unusual exit in the first stage, leaving his car parked on the start-finish line for dramatic effect.
Four cautions in the first stage covered 26 of 40 laps, including a final yellow after debris came off Williams’ No. 92 Chevrolet and he was ordered by NASCAR to park his vehicle.
A frustrated Williams followed, but on his terms. He parked his car on the checkered start-finish line, climbed out and walked toward his pit crew with a wave to the fans, apparently delivered with sarcasm.
Before exiting his car, Williams angrily complained to his crew on his radio it was “apparently” NASCAR regulations to park your vehicle following a wreck “of any kind.” Added Williams: “This is some bull you know what. I’ve never heard of this in my life.”
Williams was taken to the infield care center and then escorted to his team hauler without speaking to reporters.
There were 11 cautions, also an Atlanta record, in Christian Eckes’ second career truck series win earlier Saturday.
The first caution in the Xfinity race came out on only the second lap following a collision between Ceasar Bacarella and Joey Gase. The second caution followed only 10 laps later, and more slowdowns followed, including a crash by Justin Allgaier that ended the second stage.
“I’m kind of embarrassed by our sport right now just because of the way this has gone,” Allgaier said, adding “it’s just a shame” to have so many cautions.
The series moves to Austin, Texas, next Saturday at Circuit of the Americas.
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