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Everything That Happened in the 2024 Xfinity Race at Daytona

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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What’s Happening?

It has been a LOOOONNNNGGG race weekend, Daily Downforce readers but the final race of Speedweeks 2024 is officially in the books. How did the stars of tomorrow fare on the high banks of Daytona? Who struggled? Who was on the wrong side of luck? Who kicked off their 2024 season in style? Here is everything that happened in the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener. Let’s talk about it.

You Need To Know:

  • While rain put a damper on the scheduled time of the race, the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers were actually the most recent drivers to take to the high banks of the World Center of Racing, doing so in qualifying time trials held Saturday morning before the rain hit. Rookie Jesse Love started on the pole, sweeping the front row with his RCR teammate and drafting ace, Austin Hill.
  • The RCR dominance continued into the race as everyone quickly fell in line behind the two with the rookie in the No. 2 winning the first stage in a thrilling photo finish with his teammate. Love is certainly a fan-favorite to take Rookie of the Year in 2024.
  • By the time the Xfinity race started, fans were tired, with about half of the at-track fans leaving the stands. But online, the fans stayed tuned deep into the night, eagerly watching the end of the 2024 Speedweeks at Daytona.

Big One Takes Out Suarez, Mayer, & Deegan

As the laps of Stage 1 were running low, the first big one of the night occurred taking out some high-profile names including Cup driver Daniel Suarez and JRM driver, Sam Mayer. The incident started when Daniel Suarez in the No. 14 Wendy’s-sponsored Chevy let off the gas due to a stack up in front of him which caused him to get tagged from behind. This turned him into Sam Mayer who then shot up the track, suffering a huge head-on hit into the outside SAFER barrier. Subsequently caught up in the incident was Xfinity Series rookie, Hailie Deegan in her No. 15 Ford and Kyle Weatherman in the No. 91.

Here you can see the crash from Daniel Suarez’s point of view.

The No. 1 of Sam Mayer was totaled and hauled to the garage.

Courtesy of Noah Lewis, below is an interview he did with Deegan once she was released from the infield care center. Here she comments on the very frustrating end of her race in Daytona.

Noah also caught up with a very disappointed Daniel Suarez. He seemed to have a fast car tonight and it was a shame he didn’t get to see the race through to the end. This is the second time he has been checked out and released by the infield care center as he was also caught up in an incident earlier tonight towards the end of the Daytona 500.

Stage 1 Winner

The first stage of this race belonged to RCR and their rookie pole sitter, 2023 ARCA Menards Series Champion, Jesse Love.

Muniz, Love, and Hill Collected In Big Crash

The second Big One of the evening occurred near Lap 38 of 120 and it collected some big names. The RCR dynamic duo who dominated the first stage were involved in the carnage and, unfortunately, Love was involved in the inciting incident that started it all.

As you can see in the video, Love, the third car in the middle lane was given an aggressive shove by John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 20 behind him. This got Love’s No. 2 Wheelen Chevy out of shape. That then turned him into A. J. Allmendinger and his Kaulig teammate in the No. 97, Shane van Gisbergen. Subsequently, Nemechek and Parker Kligerman were collected. Fortunately, all drivers were able to continue.

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Trouble for Allgaier

Seemingly turned around by dirty air, superspeedway favorite in the No. 7 for JR Motorsports went for a spin just before the conclusion of the second stage. They came down pit road under caution, put on some fresh rubber, and continued on, going on to finish 7th in the second stage.

With A Battered Car, Austin Hill Races Back To The Front To Take Stage 2

If there ever was a Pied Piper-like character in the Xfinity Series when it comes to superspeedway racing, it has to be Austin Hill. Shortly after being involved in an incident not of his own making, Hill in his bad fast No. 21 RCR Chevy still rocketed back to the front, the nose of his car heavily taped from damage. After finishing second in the first stage and winning the second, at the very least it has been a great points race for Hill and his No. 21 team.

During pit stops, Hill made a mistake entering pit road in third gear thus carrying way too much speed, causing him to not only receive a speeding penalty but also overshoot his pit box and be handed a penalty for safety violations. To start the final stage, he would be forced to drop to the rear of the pack.

Cautions Breed Cautions

As we got inside 30 laps to go, Ryan Ellis, Natalie Decker, and Garrett Smithley were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack by not pitting during the cycle of green flag pitstops. The hope was for them to catch a caution and pit so they would lose as little track position as possible. Fortunate for them (and unfortunate for Jeb Burton), they got the caution they wanted Burton and Shake van Gisbergen tangled, sending both drivers spinning. Fortunately, they received little damage from the incident.

With 18 laps to go the race restarted but the green flag run was limited as a handful of cars got caught up in an incident heading into turn 1. Amongst the cars involved were SVG who received some pretty heavy damage.

The race restarted with 11 laps to go. With 9 to go it was announced that Riley Herbst would be penalized for laying back on the restart. The next lap, his teammate Cole Custer in the 00 got caught up in a huge wreck involving Justin Allgaier, Daniel Dye, Sage Karam (who was driving a great race in his No. 26 Toyota), and the No. 44 of Brennan Poole. The accident was a result of drivers fighting over limited amounts of real estate. You can review the incident in the clip below.

Three-Peat Winner!

The final checkered flag of 2024 Daytona Speedweeks is in the air and winning his third Daytona Xfinity season opener in a row is the driver of the No. 21 Austin Hill! With this win, Hill is on the fast track to developing a dynasty on par with Tony Stewart’s dominance of this race over a decade ago.

The win was a hard-fought one with a battered car that could not be denied. As Hill and his former teammate Sheldon Creed (driving the No. 18 for JGR) prepared to duke it out, a final Big One occurred on the backstretch causing the field to get strung out up front. Hill’s No. 21 pulled away and into victory lane, making for his 7th career Xfinity Series win.

Conclusion

And with that checkered flag, thus concludes the 2024 edition of Daytona Speedweeks! Finally! Tell us, Daily Downforce readers and NASCAR fans: which race do you think was the better product? How did your driver fare this week? Mine (Josh Berry) didn’t end up too hot. Let us know your thoughts and concerns on all of our social media platforms and be sure to keep it right here at DailyDownforce.com for all the latest as we gear up to take on Hotlanta!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts