Austin Hill’s first appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) ended abruptly with a blown right front tire and a 33rd-place finish on Monday night. Hill had his AISIN Group, AISIN AW Toyota Supra running inside the top 20 when the untimely incident took place and ended his return to competition prematurely.
Without practice or qualifying, Hill was awarded the 26th starting position by a draw in HRE’s return to action at CMS. The Winston, Ga. native quickly made his way up the leaderboard to 19th in the race’s opening run to the lap 20 competition caution and ran 20th at the Stage 1 break on lap 45. Hill battled a free condition from the outset and was searching for a more secure balance in the AISIN Group, AISIN AW Toyota Supra in Stage 2.
Crew chief Dan Stillman and the HRE team worked to add security into the No. 61 Supra, but despite the adjustments, Hill battled a lack of grip in the rear of the car through most of Stage 2 and ended the segment in 21st position. A pit road penalty under the stage caution set Hill back to 30th but was able to drive up inside the top 20 during the final stage, and as high as 19th by lap 171. However, his progress up running order would come to an inopportune end on the lap 176 restart when a right front tire blew and sent him into the Turn 1 wall. He would be credited with a 33rd-place finish after the AISIN Group, AISIN AW Supra sustained severe damage.
Austin Hill Quote:“That’s a tough way to end a long night of battling. The balance was pretty free for most of the race but, we started to make some gains on the AISIN Group, AISIN AW Supra after halfway. I’m not sure what caused the tire to go down, but we blew a right front on that restart and took a pretty hard hit. These guys worked hard, and it was good to get back in the seat and some laps under our belt. We’ll come back Tuesday night and hopefully come out with a better result with our United Rentals Tundra.”