Saturday racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series certainly turned the heat on at Martinsville Speedeay. There were cautions. There were stops. There was a chase for a championship on the line and the tensions were running hot from a full season of racing. Nothing set that stage more than the final restart in overtime.
Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed shared the front row on the restart as the team mates hit it forward. Creed gave Hill a bump in close quarters and had to check in the turn catching Hill’s bumper hard. The crowded turn three and four invited John Hunter Nemechek into the mix and cars started losing grip and going off . It was a crash-fest has Creed and Justin Allgaier came out of the turn. Allgaier and Creed came up the stretch wheel to quarters but it was Allgaier at the checkers.
Creed is on a different tack in 2024 leaving RCR for Joe Gibbs. Hill is making no secret he won’t miss Creed. We’ll have to wait to see if racing between the two next season has moments of heat.
For this season, both are out of the championship run.
The RCR team friction also benefited Cole Custer as he was points behind Hill but even though Custer crossed the line backwards and on fire he was now in front of Hill to make the round.
Allgaier came from spots behind to get the win at Martinsville and make the cut. He came into the weekend just a notch behind Hill and below the points line.
The “must win” setting of the race at Martinsville also set up friction between Joe Gibbs Racing team mates Sammy Smith and John Hunter Nemechek. Smith started on the pole and finished third but felt slighted by Nemechek after, as Smith saw it, Nemechek blocked a run and cost him enough to not make the championship advance.
The four drivers in the championship hunt are: Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, John H Nemechek, Cole Custer
There were a lot of damaged cars being hauled out of Martinsville but the final race at Phoenix will see four drivers in new cars racing against each other for the NASCAR Xfinity championship. Will one of the four make “must win” moves or will one of the other drivers on the track steal the glory of the last win of the season?
Photo Gallery – NASCAR Xfinity Dead On Tools 250 – Martinsville Speedway – October 28, 2023