Austin Hill won his third NASCAR Xfinity Series race of 2023 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 18. He also joined Kyle Busch and Mark Martin on a historic list.
These three drivers all have one thing in common — they have won three of the first five races in an Xfinity Series season. Martin did this in 1997 while driving for Roush. He started the year with a 35th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. He then won consecutive races at Rockingham Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Martin achieved this feat for a second time in 2000. He missed the season-opening race, but he won the second race of the season at Rockingham. The third race resulted in a runner-up finish behind Jeff Burton. Martin then won the fourth and fifth races of the year, which took place at Atlanta and Darlington
Hill kicked off his sophomore season in the same manner that he started his rookie year — he won the opening race at Daytona International Speedway. Hill has since captured races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, the latter of which necessitated keeping the No. 21 straight after contact from Parker Kligerman.
“I have no idea how I saved it coming to the line,” Hill told FOX Sports after climbing out of the race-winning car. “What a start to the season. Everybody at Richard Childress Racing, ECR engines — we’ve just had such a fast start with Chevrolet. This has been special, for sure.”
Busch Has Achieved This Feat Multiple Times
Busch, who has a record 102 Xfinity Series wins, first achieved this feat in 2011. He started the year with a seventh-place finish at Daytona before winning the following week at Phoenix Raceway. A crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway led to a 30th-place finish, but Busch followed it up with back-to-back wins at Bristol Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway.
Busch also achieved this feat two more times. He won four races in the first six weeks of the 2013 season. Busch also won three times in the first four races of the 2016 season despite skipping the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. He then added his fourth win two weeks later.
There are multiple other seasons when Busch has won several times in his first four starts of the Xfinity Series season. They just didn’t take place within the first five races of the year. For example, he made his 2019 debut during the third race of the year, which was the first of four consecutive starts. He won three of these races.
The 2021 season is another fitting example. Busch made five Xfinity Series starts, which he spread throughout the year. He won every single time he took over the No. 54 Toyota GR Supra, which took him to 102 career Xfinity Series wins. The final win in this stretch was the final Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway before it underwent the massive reconfiguration.
Hill Now Has 2 Xfinity Series Wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway
The driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet had a dominant car at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He won the first stage and finished eighth in the second. Hill ultimately spent 103 of the 163 laps at the front of the pack before winning his third race of the season.
Hill has made three Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he has top-two finishes in all three of them. He finished second behind Ty Gibbs in his first start at the reconfigured track. He then won the summer race after leading 73 of the 163 laps. The third win took place on March 18, 2023.
“We basically came here with the same setup as last year,” Hill said after the race, per RCR. “We finished second in the first race and won the second one, so we thought we were at a really good spot on what we needed setup-wise. We knew that our Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet was going to drive a little bit different just because of the new rear package that we have this season.
“During Stage 1 we knew that we were going to have to figure that out to see if I was going to be a little too loose or a little too tight and make whatever adjustments we needed to get the car where we needed it. Our Chevrolet Camaro wasn’t that far off when we unloaded, which shows that everybody at Richard Childress Racing puts in the work and pays attention to all those minor details that need to be done to be fast.”