Austin Hill’s first appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) was cut short on Saturday afternoon. Hill was handed a 35th-place result after an incident in Stage 2 and put a premature end to his afternoon in the No. 61 AISIN Group Toyota Supra.
Saturday’s opening act to the 2020 NXS season was Hill’s first appearance in the tour since his debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season. Hill and the AISIN Group team led by crew chief Dan Stillman participated in the first practice session on Friday afternoon and posted the 17th-quickest time after limited runs in the draft.
Hill took the green flag on Saturday from the 28th position and quickly advanced his way into the lead draft. By lap 6, he positioned himself in the lead group and moved inside the top 15 by lap 11. He maintained his position in the lead draft until the Stage 1 caution period on lap 30 by running in the 17th position. When the race resumed on lap 36, the Winston, GA native positioned himself to advance through the lead pack until calamity struck shortly thereafter. Two laps later, Hill was attempting to make an evasive maneuver around a spinning car in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 when a competitor came up from behind and made heavy contact with the side of his Toyota Supra. The damage was too extensive for Hill to continue and his day was cut short 38 laps into the event.
Austin Hill Quote:“It always seems like any time at a superspeedway that we try to play it safe and try to make it to the end, something like this happens. I kind of knew better. I should have been aggressive. That’s what we do in the Truck Series and it normally pays dividends to us and we get good finishes out of it. That’s just something that we kind of put ourselves in a bad position – or I put us in a bad position – kind of being back there. The No.1 got loose and started spinning. I was checking up. I knew he was going to come back up the track and then the No. 08 just out of nowhere comes in…Yeah, it’s tough to swallow. Having such a good run last night in the truck race, and I was hoping for a decent finish. I wasn’t expecting to go out there and light the world on fire and win or anything, but I was hoping for a nice, solid finish for all of our sponsors: AISIN, United Rentals, just everybody that lets me do what I love to do. Our Supra was pretty good. A little tight all day, but we will move forward and go to the next one.”