Clements gets shock win in wreck-marred Daytona Xfinity race
With the leaders falling to the wayside, Jeremy Clements ended a 164-race winless streak with a surprise win in overtime at Daytona International Speedway.
After a three-hour rain delay and entering the third overtime, it appeared Austin Hill and A.J. Allmendinger were going to battle it out for the win in Friday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
But before the final restart, Allmendinger struggled with fuel pressure issues and Austin Hill failed to go on the restart because of an electrical problem.
Clements got by Allmendinger for the lead on the restart and took the white flag just as a caution was displayed for a wreck in Turn 3. The caution froze the field and ended the race, handing Clements the win and a trip to the 2022 playoffs.
The win is the second of Clement’s career. His first victory came at Road America in 2017.
“I’m speechless, man,” Clements said. “I don’t even know what to say. That’s incredible, man. I just can’t. I’m sorry. I’m a little speechless.
“We survived that big wreck back there – it was like a ‘Days of Thunder’ wreck and I thought if we can just keep up with these guys, it’ll be a good day. A top-five and car in one piece – that’s a good day.
“Wow – this is incredible. Thank you to everyone for sticking around. I know it’s late as hell. It’s time to drink a beer!”
Timmy Hill ended up second, Allmendinger third, Brandon Brown fourth and Sage Karam rounded out the top-five.
The race featured 10 cautions covering 41 of the 118 laps. Due to the overtimes, the race went 18 laps over its scheduled distance.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all of the lead lap cars pit with Noah Gragson the first off pit road.
On the restart on Lap 65, Gragson led the way followed by Riley Herbst, Justin Allgaier and Sam Mayer.
With 30 laps remaining, Gragson held a small lead over Ty Gibbs as Allgaier ran third.
While running in fourth, Herbst suffered a flat left-rear tire and spun off track in Turn 3 to bring out the fifth caution of the race.
A handful of cars elected to pit. The race returned to green on Lap 77 with Gragson still out front and followed by Gibbs, Allgaier and John Hunter Nemechek.
On Lap 83, a multi-car accident involving Nemechek, Joe Graf Jr. and Sheldon Creed erupted on the backstretch after Nemechek got spun off Turn 2 by Brown. It brought out the sixth caution of the race.
The raced returned to green on Lap 88 with Gragson still in the lead followed by Allgaier and Allmendinger.
With 10 laps to go, Gragson was fending off a tough challenge from Allmendinger as Allgaier ran third.
On Lap 92, Allgaier got into Allmendinger and turned him entering Turn 1 which also collected Mayer, Josh Berry, Karam and Ryan Sieg.
The race returned to green with four laps remaining and Gragson still out front followed by Daniel Hemric, Brown, Ryan Sieg and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Hemric got past Gragson on the restart to move into the lead for the first time in the race.
Right after Austin Hill got a shove from Anthony Alfredo back to the lead, a multi-car wreck erupted on the frontstretch on Lap 98 that placed the race under caution and sent it to overtime.
Among those involved in the accident were Hemric, Jeb Burton, Alfredo, Brandon Jones, Allgaier and Landon Cassill.
Entering overtime, Austin Hill led the way followed by Gragson, Gibbs, Brown and Ryan Sieg.
Herbst got into Brown on the backstretch to trigger another multi-car wreck which placed the race back under caution and sent it into a second, 2-lap overtime.
Austin Hill still led on the restart followed by Gragson, Allmendinger, Timmy Hill and Clements.
Gragson got turned by Allmendinger off Turn 2 which triggered another massive crash that sent the race into a third overtime.
Austin Hill stilled led on the restart, followed by Allmendinger, Clements, Timmy Hill and Karam.
Allmendinger briefly fell off the pace before the restart due to fuel pressure issues but came back to life while Austin Hill suffered an electrical issue and couldn’t go on the restart.
Gragson held off Alfredo to win Stage 2 as Creed spun on the backstretch.
Herbst finished third, Mayer fourth and Berry rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most of the lead-lap cars pit but Berry stayed out and inherited the lead.
During pit stops Austin Hill and Caesar Bacarella slammed into each other, with significant damage to both. Stenshouse was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.
The race resumed on Lap 35 with Berry out front followed by Jeb Burton and Brown.
Brown got around Berry for the lead on Lap 36 as Alfredo moved into second.
Alfredo got a big run on the inside of Brown and moved into the lead on Lap 37 for the first time in the race.
Allgaier got a shove to the lead from Ryan Sieg on Lap 41.
With 15 laps remaining in the stage, Allgaier maintained a small advantage over Alfredo with Creed in third.
Alfredo powered back into the lead on Lap 50 with a shove from Gragson as Allgaier dropped to second. Allgaier went to the inside of Alfredo to reclaim the lead on Lap 52.
Using the outside lane, Alfredo moved back ahead of Allgaier for the lead on Lap 54.
Gragson dove to the inside of Alfredo to return to the lead on Lap 56.
Gibbs held off a late charge by Austin Hill to take the Stage 1 win, his fourth stage win of the 2022 season.
Creed ended up third, Allmendinger fourth and Berry completed the top-five.
Allmendinger started on the pole and led the first four laps until Gragson made a big move on the backstretch to take the lead on Lap 5.
With 15 laps remaining in the stage, Gragson maintained a small lead over his teammate Berry while Mayer ran third.
On Lap 15, Sammy Smith hit the inside wall after getting loose off Turn 4 to bring out the first caution.
Several cars elected to pit, including Gragson, but Berry remained on the track and in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 20.
Herbst quickly powered into the lead on the restart only to see Gibbs get around him on Lap 21.
NASCAR was forced to display a caution on Lap 22 for debris on the track in bottom groove of Turn 2. It appeared to come from Kyle Sieg’s car after he suffered a flat tire.
A handful of cars pit, including Berry, and the race resumed on Lap 25 with Gibbs still in command.
Herbst got past Gibbs on the restart to return to the lead. Gibbs got back around Herbst for the lead on Lap 26.
Hemric and Haley both had to start from the rear of the field after their teams made unapproved adjustments to their cars prior to the start of the race.
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