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Race report

Austin Hill's pit strategy pays off big in Pocono Xfinity win

A clever pit strategy and crafty overtime restart helped Austin Hill pull out a surprise victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity race at Pocono Raceway.

Hill and his No. 21 Richard Childress Racing team were among a handful of teams that were playing a fuel-mileage gamble and trying to make it to the end without another stop to gain track position.

A late-race wreck sent up a two-lap overtime with Berry – who had fresher tires and had been the fastest car the whole race – in the lead.

Entering Turn 1 on the restart, Berry got loose, and Hill pounced, passed him to the inside and grabbed the lead for the first time in the race.

Berry got close to getting back around Hill on the final lap but eventually wrecked after contact with Sam Mayer, which brought out a caution and secured Hill’s victory.

 

The win is Hill’s fourth of the 2023 season and sixth of his career.

“We didn’t have the best car all day,” Hill said. “We worked really hard and we got the car better. I thought maybe we were a top-five, top-seven car but I didn’t think we had anything for the leader. Berry was so fast today.

“On the (overtime) restart, he drove into (Turn) 1 and got really loose on entry and I was just trying to hit my line and cleared him. Then taking the white (flag), I backed it up way to much into (Turn) 1 trying not to do what (Berry) did and he about passed me and we drag-raced down the backstretch.

“I thought (Mayer) was about to split us three-wide and we closed it up. Once I cleared him, I knew I had to hit my works and then obviously the caution came out.”

Mayer ended up second, Chase Elliott was third, Riley Herbst fourth and Daniel Hemric fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Sammy Smith, Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt, Parker Kligerman and Daniel Suarez.

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Stage 1

Berry, who started on the pole, led all 20 laps and cruised to the Stage 1 win over Hemric by 1.808 seconds. John Hunter Nemechek was third, Sammy Smith fourth and Sheldon Creed rounded out the top five.

Stage 2

Berry had to hold off a furious charge from Justin Allgaier on the final lap by 0.117 seconds to claim the Stage 2 win. Nemechek was third, Jones fourth and Cole Custer fifth.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead-lap cars elected to pit but a handful stayed out, including Allgaier, who inherited the lead.

As Suarez cleared to the lead on the restart, Nemechek and Custer wrecked on the frontstretch to place the race under caution.

 

The race resumed with 40 laps remaining and Suarez out front.

Allgaier got around Suarez for the lead on lap 51 only to see Berry – who had pit for new tires during the stage break – pass him and return to the top spot with 35 laps to go.

Allgaier and Hemric were among the first to hit pit road to kick off a round of green-flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

With 20 laps to go, about a dozen cars had yet to make their final stop, including Jones who took over the lead. Herbst, Hill and some others discussed the possibility of trying to make it to the end without another stop.

Joey Gase got hit by Allgaier and spun around between Turns 2 and 3 to bring out a caution and disrupt the various strategy plays.

That set up a restart with six laps remaining and Herbst in the lead trying to make his fuel-mileage gamble pay off with an upset win.

Berry, on much fresher tires, powered around Herbst on the restart to reclaim the lead but a late-race wreck involving Connor Mosack sent the race into a two-lap overtime.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph Pits Points
1 United StatesAUSTIN HILLRichard Childress Racing 21 Chevrolet 92 1:52'15.891     14  
2
SAM MAYERJR Motorsports
1 Chevrolet 92 +0.657 0.657   10  
3 United StatesCHASE ELLIOTTHendrick Motorsports 17 Chevrolet 92 +1.156 0.499   9  
4 United StatesRILEY HERBSTStewart-Haas Racing 98 Ford 92 +1.580 0.424   9  
5 United StatesDANIEL HEMRICKaulig Racing 11 Chevrolet 92 +2.029 0.449   9  
6
SAMMY SMITHJoe Gibbs Racing
18 Toyota 92 +2.292 0.263   9  
7 United StatesBRANDON JONESJR Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 92 +2.523 0.231   6  
8 United StatesBRETT MOFFITTAM Racing 25 Ford 92 +2.685 0.162   7  
9 United StatesPARKER KLIGERMANBig Machine Racing Team 48 Chevrolet 92 +2.797 0.112   7  
10 MexicoDANIEL SUAREZKaulig Racing 10 Chevrolet 92 +3.076 0.279   7  
11 United StatesSHELDON CREEDRichard Childress Racing 2 Chevrolet 92 +3.648 0.572   6  
12 United StatesJEB BURTONJordan Anderson Racing 27 Chevrolet 92 +4.135 0.487   7  
13
ANTHONY ALFREDOBJ McLeod Motorsports
78 Chevrolet 92 +4.956 0.821   7  
14 United StatesTY DILLONRichard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 92 +6.170 1.214   7  
15 United StatesJEREMY CLEMENTSJeremy Clements Racing 51 Chevrolet 92 +7.813 1.643   8  
16
KYLE SIEGRSS Racing
28 Ford 92 +7.827 0.014   7  
17
JOE JR.RSS Racing
38 Ford 92 +7.847 0.020   6  
18 United StatesRYAN ELLISAlpha Prime Racing 43 Chevrolet 92 +9.294 1.447   8  
19 United StatesJEFFREY EARNHARDTAlpha Prime Racing 45 Chevrolet 92 +10.369 1.075   8  
20
CHANDLER SMITHKaulig Racing
16 Chevrolet 92 +11.411 1.042   7  
21 United StatesGARRETT SMITHLEYJD Motorsports 4 Chevrolet 92 +15.487 4.076   7  
22 United StatesRYAN SIEGRSS Racing 39 Ford 92 +24.441 8.954   6  
23 United StatesJUSTIN ALLGAIERJR Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 92 +44.173 19.732   10  
24 JOSH BERRYJR Motorsports 8 Chevrolet 91 +1 Lap 1 Lap   5  
25 United StatesKAZ GRALASam Hunt Racing 26 Toyota 91 +1 Lap 1'02.855   8  
26
EMERLINGБ PATRICKEmerling Gase Motorsports
53 Chevrolet 91 +1 Lap 5.024   8  
27
BLAINE PERKINSOur Motorsports
02 Chevrolet 91 +1 Lap 2.332   7  
28 CanadaALEX LABBÉSS-Green Light Racing 08 Ford 91 +1 Lap 1.336   10  
29 United StatesBRENNAN POOLEJD Motorsports 6 Chevrolet 91 +1 Lap 3.635   9  
30
CHAD CHASTAINDGM Racing
91 Chevrolet 91 +1 Lap 0.001   7  
31 United StatesJOEY GASEEmerling Gase Motorsports 35 Chevrolet 90 +2 Laps 1 Lap   7  
32 United StatesJOHN HUNTER NEMECHEKJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 89 +3 Laps 1 Lap   9  
33 United StatesCOLE CUSTERStewart-Haas Racing 00 Ford 87 +5 Laps 2 Laps   8  
34
CONNOR MOSACKJoe Gibbs Racing
19 Toyota 85 +7 Laps 2 Laps   10  
35
PARKER RETZLAFFJordan Anderson Racing
31 Chevrolet 84 +8 Laps 1 Lap   9  
36 United StatesJOSH WILLIAMSDGM Racing 92 Chevrolet 82 +10 Laps 2 Laps   6  
37
COREY HEIMSam Hunt Racing
24 Toyota 81 +11 Laps 1 Lap   6  
38 United StatesSAGE KARAMAlpha Prime Racing 44 Chevrolet 7 +85 Laps 74 Laps   6

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