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Everything That Happened In The Xfinity Race at Atlanta

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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?

Part 2 of the Saturday Double-Header at Atlanta Motor Speedway is officially in the books! Following a relatively (and surprisingly?) tame NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Hot-lanta, it’s the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ turn to take to the high banks of the now superspeedway-style track. Who was hot heading into the race? Who exceeded expectations? Who faltered as the race wore on? Who was caught up in incidents of someone else’s doing? Here’s everything that happened in the Xfinity Race at Atlanta. Let’s break it down.

You Need To Know:

  • Heading into the Xfinity Race, the talk was all about Jesse Love and his impressive showing early in his stint driving the No. 2 Wheelen Chevy for Richard Childress Racing. In qualifying on Friday afternoon, he became the first driver ever to win the pole in his first two Xfinity Series starts. In addition, his teammate and Daytona winner, Austin Hill, qualified on the outside pole, making this the second race in a row that RCR swept the front row in the Xfinity Series.
  • Most of the race was a one-man show with Jesse Love leading nearly every single lap. But, as it tends to go, the overtime attempt was filled with controversy and chaos resulting in (somewhat?) of a surprising winner.
  • Fans didn’t hesitate to post their criticisms with many of them calling the race “boring” or a mess. Needless to say, this one will certainly get some low ratings from fans.

Early Trouble For Josh Williams

A lot of eyes were on the No. 11 of Josh Williams heading into this weekend. The last time Josh competed in an Xfinity race at Atlanta the driver made headlines after deciding to literally park his car on the start/finish line under caution. This came after a dispute between himself and NASCAR over the radio. The result of this was a 1-race suspension for Williams.

The stunt earned him a lot of fans and he even started selling t-shirts, poking fun at the whole ordeal. When it was announced in the 2023/24 off-season that Williams would be joining Kaulig Racing in 2024, a lot of fans were excited and curious to see how he’d do when given good equipment. Unfortunately, his troubles started early as he started dropping like a rock only to come on the radio and inform his team that he had a flat left-rear tire.

Williams brought his No. 11 Chevy down pit road for a fresh set of rubbers but under green flag conditions. He’d end up losing 4 laps. You can watch footage of the incident below, video provided by NASCAR on FOX.

Jesse Love Dominates the Opening Stage

The RCR cars were dominant at Daytona and that dominance seems to have carried over into Atlanta. To add insult to injury after his history-making pole win, Jesse Love lead every lap of the NASCAR Xfinity race at Atlanta to capture the stage win!

SVG Making Some BIG Adjustments

After an impressive showing inside the top 10, SVG had an extended pit stop to make a rather big adjustment based on something they found on one of their teammate’s cars. Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports assumes that it was Josh Williams, who had a problem with a flat in the opening laps. Could the two be related? Hmm…

John Hunter Nemechek Brushes The Wall

In stage 2, J. H. N. had a scary moment as a checkup caused him to lightly kiss the outside retaining barrier. This led to the No. 20 getting a tire rub and having to put under green, losing 4 laps in the process. He never was able to recover from his issue, finishing well outside the top 30. This has been a disappointing start from the 2023 Xfinity Series heavyweight this year in his first 2 starts of a partial schedule in the 20.

Love Takes Stage Two Too

Jesse Love’s stranglehold on the competition continued throughout the second stage as the No. 2 car rocketed out to the front and never looked back. Jesse Love wins Stage 2 in Hotlanta! His showing here is similar to his showing in most of the ARCA races he ran in 2023 where he won 10 out of a total of 20 events. At this point in the race, it appeared as if nobody had anything for the No. 2 Wheelen car for RCR.

Ford Fuel Woes

As the laps wound down to under 10 laps to go, the question as to whether or not the leaders would be able to make it to the end of the race without stopping for fuel became the big storyline. While the crew chief of the leaders were telling their drivers that they were good others, like the crew chief of the No. 7 for Justin Allgaier, were confident that there was no way any of the leaders could make it to the end.

With 4-laps to go, the No. 00 of Cole Custer, the No. 98 of Riley Herbst, the 39 of Ryan Seig, and the No. 15 of Hailie Deegan (all fords) simultaneously ran out of fuel. Seig came to rest on the apron of the track, prompting NASCAR to throw the caution flag. This caution resulted in leaders such as Jesse Love and Parker Kligerman staying out to gamble that they had enough fuel for an overtime restart while others opted to pit to fuel up. A total of 6 cars stayed out.

Hill Does It Again

When the field came around to restart for the Green-White-Checkered, Justin Allgaier was the first to dip down onto the apron, running out of fuel. As the field took the green, the No. 48 of Kligerman stalled and the dominant car in Jesse Love’s No. 2 ran out of gas, splitting up the field. This opened the door for Austin Hill in the 21, Chandler Smith in the 81, and Shane van Gisbergen in the 97 to separate themselves from the pack. Hill brought them around to take the white and, eventually, the checkered flag. Austin Hill wins his second win in a row and his third at Atlanta.

You can rewatch the final laps in the clip below, provided by FOX Sports.

Around The Garage

This type of racing has been criticized by fans, sure. But it’s bad when even the drivers agree that the racing is boring. A. J. Allmendinger radioed into his crew, as reported by Jordan Bianchi, complaining that the racing just isn’t any fun. Personally, it reminds me of the old-school plate races where Dale Jr. just ran away and whooped everybody.

In The Stands

KRose61912 says that it’s a good thing that this race wasn’t a drinking game…it could have been lethal.

Will Henderson posts that, apparently, Love is all you need.

Christopher Sheldon takes to X to report on the snoozefest of a race…

jah said that even though they got rid of Creed and got a new driver, Hill is still undeniably the top dog in RCR’s Xfinity program.

Flower Power claims that NASCAR has ruined Atlanta. I think that’s a pretty common criticism.

bob is calling for the No. 2 crew chief’s job after that debacle!

anonymous_participant says that unless the Cup race tomorrow can somehow magically swoop in and save the weekend, the move to put Atlanta Super Speedway right after the Daytona 500 weekend would be the biggest fumble of Ben Kennedy’s career.

Conclusion

Well, NASCAR fans, what did you think of that one? Were you surprised by the winner? I was, in the worst possible way. What did you think of the fuel strategy coming down to the wire? What about the racing itself? Did you like it? Hate it? Loathe it? Let us know your thoughts, feelings, and concerns on all of our social media platforms (X, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok). We have one more race to go this Hotlanta weekend. Hopefully, we can end it on a good note.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow afternoon for The Daily Downforce’s coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series race from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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Cody Williams

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