Hill’s final lap surge leads to NASCAR Xfinity win Saturday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Austin Hill celebrates his win in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 in Las Vegas. Photo by David Barks

LAS VEGAS – Austin Hill made a dramatic last-lap pass and then drove to victory Saturday afternoon in the Alsco Uniforms 300 Xfinity race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hill, who notched his fourth career Xfinity win and second of the year, and Justin Allgaier chased down pole-sitter Chandler Smith over the final 20 laps of the 300-mile race on the Speedway’s one-and-a-half-mile oval.

Austin Hill crosses the finish line to win Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 Xfinity race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hill passed race leader Chandler Smith on the final lap to grab the checkered flag. Photo by David Barks

Smith led 111 of the 200 laps but not the last one as both Hill and Allgaier steadily closed in over the race’s closing laps.

Smith held a 3.147-second lead when he crossed the start/finish line on lap 180 but from there the duo of Hill and Allgaier began running him down.

The lead was down to one second with 10 to go.

“With 10 to go, I knew I had a chance,” said Hill. “I noticed he was getting really tight and with two to go, I saw he missed the line. I saw I closed the gap going into Turn 3 on the last lap so I took my shot.”

It worked out.

Allgaier also got past Smith on that final lap to finish second with Smith third.

Í got a little tight here at the end,” said Smith. “It’s a tough pill to swallow but, all-in-all, I can’t be disappointed.”

Justin Allgaier came in second Saturday at the NASCAR Xfinity race in Las Vegas. Photo by David Barks

After winning Friday night’s Camping World truck race, Kyle Busch’s shot at winning all three Las Vegas races this weekend ended with a fourth-place finish.

Josh Berry finished fifth followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, Sheldon Creed, and Daniel Hemric.

There were only four caution flags on the afternoon, three caused by spinouts and the fourth at the end of Stage 1, with no serious accidents.

The first caution came early, on lap 4, after Parker Kligerman spun out coming out of Turn 2. He recovered, eventually finishing 11th.

The second came at the end of Stage 1, a stage won by Nemechek.

The third happened on lap 75 when Berry spun out but he was able to stay off the wall and finish fifth.

A spin by Rajah Caruth on lap 90 was the fourth and final caution, ending Stage 2, with Hill taking the stage win under the caution flag.

Chandler Smith led 111 of 200 laps but ended up finishing third in Saturday’s Xfinity race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by David Barks

It was green-flag racing the rest of the way, from lap 97; when stage 3 began until Hill caught and passed Smith at the end.

“I knew I had to not abuse my tires and work my way through (lapped) traffic,” said Hill. “I saw the 16 (Smith) struggling in traffic. I thought once I got clean air I could hold him off.

“It feels nice to win outside of a superspeedway,” said Hill, who won the season-opener on a superspeedway at Daytona. “It’s good to win on a mile-and-a-half. Now that we’ve won on a mile-and-a-half, I think we can win anywhere.”

Chandler Smith (16) leads the field ahead of Justin Allgaier (7), Brett Moffitt (25), John Hunter Nemechek (20), Parker Kligerman (48), Austin Hill (21), and Daniel Hemric (11) at the start of Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by David Barks

Xfinity’s next race will be on the one-mile track at Phoenix Raceway next Saturday, March 11.

The Cup Series wraps up NASCAR’s Las Vegas weekend Sunday with the Pennzoil 400.

Defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano will be on the pole.

Race time is 12:30 p.m., Pacific.

Austin Hill hoists the champion’s trophy after winning Saturday’s Xfinity race in Las Vegas. Photo by David Barks
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