NASCAR Xfinity Series News & Notes – Auto Club Speedway

It seems that Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill has made himself very comfortable in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway as he just won his second consecutive season opener in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in a dramatic overtime finish.

Not only does he have two Daytona wins under his belt in the Xfinity Series, but he also won the season opener in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2019 at the 2.5-mile track. His wins make him one of only four drivers to have Daytona wins in both the Xfinity and Truck Series, joining Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick and Mike Wallace.

With his win last weekend, Hill will once again have the opportunity to become the fourth different driver to win the first two races of the Xfinity Series season; joining Tony Stewart (2008: Daytona, Auto Club), Chad Little (1995: Daytona, Rockingham) and Dale Earnhardt (1986: Daytona, Rockingham). Last season, he started his race at Auto Club in the eighth position but ultimately finished 27th.

John Hunter Nemechek, who is running his first full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2019, finished runner up while Xfinity Series veteran Justin Allgaier finished in third. Rookie Parker Retzlaff and Myatt Snider rounded out the top five.

Going back to Cali: Auto Club Speedway up next

After an action-packed race to kick off the season, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be making its way back to the West Coast to keep the momentum flowing. Drivers will take the grid for the Production Alliance 300 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m. ET, airing on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

This will be the 33rd NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, the previous 32 have produced 18 different race winners and 21 different pole winners. Five races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2013.

Joey Logano leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series in poles at Auto Club Speedway with four (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) while Kyle Busch leads the Xfinity Series at the Fontana, California track in wins with six (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2011, 2013). Two former winners are entered in this weekend’s Production Alliance 300 – fulltime driver Cole Custer (2019, 2022) and NASCAR Cup Series regular Austin Dillon (2016), who will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will hold practice at 12:05 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 12:35 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 25 on FS1.

JR Motorsports ready for Auto Club

Last season at Auto Club Speedway, there was one team in particular that stood out at the two-mile oval – JR Motorsports. All four drivers finished within the top 10 at the second race of the year and now they come back with the hope of landing themselves in Victory Lane.

With Noah Gragson now competing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, Brandon Jones sits behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet, and he is sure to join his teammates in finding success at the California track.

Although Jones fell victim to a crash last season at Auto Club, he started the race in the third position and won the pole in 2020, proving he can hit his marks and find his way around the track. In his six starts, he has posted two top 10s and has led 76 laps.

Josh Berry and Sam Mayer will be making their second start at Auto Club Speedway, while Justin Allgaier has 13 starts under his belt, posting one top five and seven top 10 finishes.

2023 Sunoco Rookies: How’d they do?

After an impressive top-five finish at his Daytona International Speedway debut, Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff finds himself second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, just one point behind Chandler Smith, who finished his race in 12th and heads into this weekend leading the rookie class with 34 points. Smith earned the additional points to surpass Retzlaff in the standings by finishing second in the first stage at Daytona.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith finished in 19th while Blaine Perkins fell victim to a crash early on in Lap 19 and finished in 37th.

All four drivers will be making their Xfinity Series debut at Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Cup Series drivers running double duty this weekend – Two Cup Series regulars will be getting some extra time on the track this weekend at Auto Club Speedway – Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick.

Dillon will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. He has made five starts at the California track in the Xfinity Series, posting one win (2016), four top fives and four top 10s.

Reddick will pilot the No. 24 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing. He has made two Xfinity Series starts at Auto Club, posting one top five, two top 10s and one pole (2019).

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