After a terrific start to the NASCAR Xfinity Series season in 2023, Austin Hill is back.
While he technically never left, the Richard Childress Racing driver was able to return to victory lane in Saturday’s Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway, taking advantage of the chaos unleashed in NASCAR Overtime.
The 29-year-old driver took advantage of a mistake from Josh Berry on the restart, where the No. 8 misjudged his corner speed heading into the first corner, running wide and allowing the No. 21 to slip by on the inside.
Berry, who led a race-high 51 of 92 laps, was able to fight back against Hill for the lead during NASCAR Overtime, but contact between him and his JR Motorsports teammate, Sam Mayer, cut down the right-front tire, sending the No. 8 into the outside wall hard.
That accident, which ended Berry’s afternoon and relegated him to a finish of 25th, would draw the final caution of the event, freezing the field and declaring Hill the winner of Saturday’s 225-mile event at Pocono.
Sam Mayer, despite making heavy contact with Berry during NASCAR Overtime, was able to finish in the runner-up position despite the damage to his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro being relatively severe.
Chase Elliott, making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start of 2023 for Hendrick Motorsports, came home in third place, while Riley Herbst and Daniel Hemric completed the top five at the end of Saturday’s 92-lap contest. Sammy Smith came home in sixth place, while Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt, Parker Kligerman, and Daniel Suarez completed the top-10.
Despite his involvement in a mid-race accident, John Hunter Nemechek maintains a 13-point advantage over Austin Hill in the regular-season point standings, as the series travels to Road America for another road course event.
Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five in regular-season point standings, after 19 of 26 events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season.