Underdogs shine in Bristol NASCAR Xfinity Series race

Timmy Hill and Landon Casill were amonsgt the surprises in the top-10 on Friday night at Bristol.

It was a day for the underdogs on Friday night in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A crash on Lap 37 eliminated Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones from contention. Then, a dominant Kyle Busch was forced to the garage with an engine failure just after winning the second stage.

It allowed for a dramatic showdown between two expected championship favorites in Tyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier, but also some fresh faces inside the top-10 once the dust had settled:

Jeremy Clements finished fifth
Gray Gaulding finished sixth
Timmy Hill finished seventh
Landon Cassill finished 10th
Brandon Brown finished 12th

That’s not even including Ryan Sieg who raced inside the top-five for much of the afternoon and was poised to finish there if not for a tire issue inside the final 20 laps.

In short, it was a day for the ‘dogs, as it were.

JEREMY CLEMENTS

Clements started fifth, raced inside the top-10 for much of the night, and even scored a stage point at the halfway point of the race. He narrowly avoided a spinning Michael Annett and raced around Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier hitting the wall with tire issues and was in third-place at the drop of the white flag.

John Hunter Nemechek used the bumper to get around Clements, but it was still a fourth-place result and his best finish since winning at Road America in the rain back in 2017.

“That’s badass,” Clements said of the finish. “It’s great. We were right there. If the [No.] 2 or anyone else had a problem, we would have been right there to capitalize on it and win this dang thing. That’s all you can ask for. I’m so proud of my team for all their effort and hard work. We really work our tails off every week. I’m ready to go to Road America and kick their ass.”

And despite the misfortune of all the Cup team affiliated drivers, Clements still believes this was a result his team earned — a career day on a short track.

“I thought we were going to get third and I was really going to be stoked,” Clements added. “Unfortunately, the 23 moved us really good there on the last lap and about wrecked me. I’m glad we didn’t wreck. There are a lot of people having problems out there, it was a treacherous track, for sure. Trying to run the top groove and trying to get all you could. It was a good night for us. I’m really glad to come top five, it’s pretty cool.”

GRAY GAULDING

Gray Gaulding drove like an MVP with the reigning NFL MVP on his hood and finished sixth.

In collaboration with sponsor Panini America Trading Cards, Patrick Mahomes was on the hood of the Bobby Dotter owned No. 08. This was his best finish since posting a second at Talladega in April.

“We were up in the top 10 most of the night,” Gaulding said. “And we’re just a small organization, and to be able to show up to Bristol with all the heat and all the competition that were here this evening and to be able to showcase that, finish sixth, have Patrick Mahomes on the hood, which is really cool, that promotion we’re doing with the NFL along with NASCAR.

“It was really cool to have a strong run, and that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to showcase to these people (Panini) when we come to these tracks, we can do it.”

Gaulding now wants the football star back on his car again.

“I’m a little bit superstitious,” Gaulding said. “I’m going to have to talk to Patrick and work something out because a lot of good things happened this week. We got a lot of press out of having him on the car.”

TIMMY HILL

The story of how Timmy Hill ended up inside the top-10 with a Hattori Racing Enterprises wrapped MBM Motorsports car is pretty remarkable.

Remember when Austin Hill failed to qualify for the Xfinity race at Daytona in July with sponsorship from Toyota Tsusho out of Daytona?

The team owed a race to it partner and made it up to them through a collaboration with MBM. What is usually the No. 42 wore the Hattori 61 colors. The collaboration resulted in a career-best tie with two Daytona finishes for Hill, who wore a big smile for the entirety of his post-race media scrum.

“Guys who know me know that I’m always smiling,” he said. “But we’re going to celebrate this one for awhile.”

Hill understands the circumstances that allowed for his little team to shine, but he hopes the results will encourage Hattori and Carl Long to collaborate more in the future.

“I think this allowed us to really compare notes and get a better idea of what each other’s mindset was going into this,” Hill said. “It also gave us tires for this race that we normally don’t have. Normally, we’re running on 40- or 50-lap scuff tires. It certainly helped tonight as well to have some fresh tires to put on.”

So, what comes next?

“Hopefully, after tonight’s run, we can put our heads together and see what we can come up with.”

LANDON CASSILL

It was a good night for Landon Cassill pic.twitter.com/kNsWY2bpj1

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