NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona ends with leader Sam Mayer upside down in wild finish

The green flag for the Daytona 500 flies on Sunday, but sparks literally ignited at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

The Xfinity Series also saw its 2023 season opener on Saturday, with Austin Hill delivering the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” won. 300 in a wild finish under caution. This was necessitated by Sam Mayer being flipped and turned upside down in the second round of overtime (required because Brandon Jones was flipped in round 119 of 120).

It looked like Justin Allgeier would claim an easy win at Daytona with at least a car length between him and the field. But his JR Motorsports team-mate ran at him on the outside and briefly took the lead – before being hit by Allgier and hit from behind by Hill, causing Mayer to spin.

LIVE: Watch the 2023 Daytona 500 results and highlights

With the caution gone, NASCAR had to review who was in the lead at the time the caution flag was raised. NASCAR finally decided it was Hill, as can be seen briefly on the camera cut in the video above (Hill was Only with anger when the flag waved). In doing so, the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Rookie of the Year won the Daytona race for the second consecutive year and for his second career victory on the circuit.

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Said Hill of Victory:

“As soon as the warning lights came on I thought I had it, but it was so close,” he said. “To be back-to-back here in Daytona is very special in the Xfinity, one here in the truck. We came from behind twice.”

Here’s another angle of Mayer’s fall, which saw him fall over and slide several hundred feet before finally coming to a stop. He came out of the wreck unharmed.

Here’s what Fox’s Mayer told Bob Pockrass about the crash, which he described as the hardest of his career.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve been upside down … That was probably the hardest lick I’ve done and I thought I took the hardest I could,” Mayer said. “That was more difficult, so I guess there’s always a higher ceiling somewhere.”

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