Austin Hill’s streak of top-10 finishes came to an end on Saturday night as an engine issue relegated him to a 30th-place result at Texas Motor Speedway. Despite his first finish of the season worse than ninth, Hill maintains the lead in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship standings by 22 points after eight races.
Hill lined up third for the green flag thanks to a staggered random draw. As the green flag flew, a loose handling condition on the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra held Hill back from contending for the race lead. He managed to maintain a top-15 position during the balance of Stage 1 in 12th before coming to pit road under the lap 41 caution.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the United Rentals team gave Hill four tires, air pressure adjustments and fuel for Stage 2, but despite an improved balance, the Winston, Ga native’s progress was hampered. He radioed the team that he was “getting beat down the straightaways”, which prompted concern in the No. 16 pit. After running 17th at the conclusion of Stage 2 on lap 80, Hill’s night came to a premature end on lap 107 due to an engine issue. The uncharacteristic result is Hill’s first finish outside the top-10 in his last nine starts, but continues to lead the Gander Truck standings heading into next weekend’s double header at Kansas Speedway.
Austin Hill Quote:“Definitely a disappointing night from the start. Our team worked hard and put in a lot of effort in this United Rentals Tundra to get it to the racetrack and it’s unfortunate we didn’t have much of a chance to show what we had. We started too loose, but Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys made it better. It turns out we had some sort of an issue with the engine all night. I was wide open in turn three and four and just didn’t have the speed and would get beat down the straightaway all night. You’ll have races like this, but we have a couple chances at Kansas next week to get back on track and get to victory lane.”