Austin Hill wrapped up his nine-race NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) campaign with a 33rd-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 61 AISIN Group Toyota Supra had a solid top-15 run in the works before a mechanical issue prematurely ended his NXS debut at TMS.
After coming off a career best top-five effort a week ago at Kansas Speedway, Hill began his afternoon from the 14th position and looked to cap off HRE’s NXS campaign with a similar result. The Winston, Ga. native held his ground in the top-15 until tire smoke from the left rear corner of his AISIN Group Supra began to appear on lap six. A caution on lap 11 allowed crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team an early opportunity to adjust on Hill’s “super tight” handling condition.
Despite a tire chatter and tight balance, Hill drove from outside the top-20 up as far as 17th before pitting for fresh tires and a round of chassis adjustments during the Stage 1 break at lap 45. Hill continued to battle for real estate inside the top 15 after the lap 52 restart, but a flat left rear tire forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 57. After pitting for fresh tires, significant tire smoke bellowed from the No. 61 and sent Hill back to pit road one lap later. After subsequent pit stops, Zipadelli and company identified a mechanical issue that caused the excessive tire rubs and forced Hill to retire after completing 107 laps and dealt him a 33rd-place result.
Austin Hill Quote:“I really wanted to end our Xfinity season on a high note, especially after running so well last week. Had we not had those issues, I think our AISIN Group Supra was strong enough to finish in the top-10, especially with how the race unfolded. Thanks to Toyota, TRD, AISIN Group and all of our partners that helped us on our Xfinity program this year. These cars are a lot of fun to drive and it’s cool to get the opportunity to do this. We’ll focus on the truck side of the rest of the season and do everything we can to go after that championship.”