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NASCAR Xfinity Series opener ends with Sam Mayer going from the lead to upside down in wild crash

The NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener ended with sparks flying, a car upside down and a video review.

In the final lap of the Beef 300, 19-year-old Sam Mayer seemed to have an opening for his first career Xfinity win after Justin Allgaier left a huge gap behind him at the white flag. Mayer, Allgaier's teammate, passed him on the outside and briefly took the lead, but he didn't have enough room to get back to the middle.

Some contact with the nose of Austin Hill's car led to Mayer spinning out and rolling over (video above). After review by NASCAR, Hill was judged to be in the lead at the time of the caution flag and took home the win, his second straight in the event. John Hunter Nemechek took second, while Allgaier finished third.

Further replay showed just how wild the crash was:

It was a chaotic end to a chaotic race, which had been in overtime due to Brandon Jones spinning out on Lap 119. Hill led for a race-high 38 laps, per NASCAR, but it was a narrow gap between him and Nemechek that let him go back-to-back at Daytona:

"As soon as the caution lights came on, I thought I had it, but it was so close,” Hill said. “To get back-to-back here at Daytona, it’s really special. That’s three wins for me now, two in the Xfinity, one in the truck here. We came from the back two different times."

For Mayer, it was a missed opportunity, not to mention the biggest crash he had ever experienced, as he told Fox's Bob Pockrass:

"It's been quite a few years since I've been upside down ... That was probably the hardest lick I've taken and I thought I'd taken the hardest one I could. That was harder, so I guess there's always a higher ceiling somewhere."

Mayer was fortunately not injured in the crash.

Sam Mayer (1) is upside down after crashing in the last lap during the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
JR Motorsports has had better races. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)