NASCAR: Saturday Truck and Xfinity Race Results
Trucks: Eckes ekes out Fr8 208 overtime victory
Christian Eckes took the checkered flag in thrilling fashion to capture the Fr8 208 Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The win marked the 22-year-old’s third top-10 showing in as many races and second among the top five finishers.
“It’s what I came here and set out to do,” said Eckes. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been a little bit emotional.”
Eckes edged second-place Nick Sanchez, who closed out regulation with the lead, by 0.078 seconds. Behind Sanchez were John Nemechek (+0.206), Bayley Currey (+0.435) and Ben Rhodes (+0.810) in the top five. The silver finish for Sanchez, the leader through regulation, was tops for his three career starts in the series. Nemechek led a race-best 53 laps.
Eckes’ first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win on the season – and second of his career – was bolstered by leading 35 of the 137 laps. He secured the checkered as the caution waved for a series of crashes that broke out as he crossed the finished line.
The overtime-forcing 10th caution of the race came out with five laps remaining and Sanchez in the lead, ultimately leading to Eckes prevailing out of turn 4 en route to hoisting the hardware.
Jack Wood spun out from the lead with 23 laps to go. He would finish 10th. Truck Series points leader Zane Smith’s started at the poll and crossed 20th among the field. Reigning Fr8 208 winner Corey Heim’s day ended when he jammed up behind Sanchez on a restart, completing only 83 laps.
Xfinity: Hill earns 3rd win of 2023 in thrilling fashion
Austin Hill led for 103 of the 163 laps during the Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250, but it was his efforts during the race’s final seconds which earned the Georgia native his second straight win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Hill, who grew up an hour from the 1.54-mile track and raced at the venue as a junior, held off a charging pack down the homestretch. Runner-up Daniel Hemric crossed 0.085 seconds behind Hill and Ryan Truex placed third. Parker Kligerman slid into fourth with Riley Herbst holding on for fifth.
“I knew it was going to be tough today,” Hill said. “We were on it all night. Once I got the lead, I knew that it was wreck-it-or-check-it.”
Hill joined Mark Martin and Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win three of the season’s first five Xfinity Series races.
Hemric made a valiant charge into the mix on the final lap and made contact with Kligerman moments before the finish.
“Obviously, mayhem happened on the (last) corner,” Hill added. “I have no idea how I saved it.”
Filling out the top-10 were Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley.
A track-record 12 caution periods extended the race well into the evening hours, but the action-packed finish undoubtedly made it well worth the wait.