Austin Hill capped off his first double-duty weekend of the season with another ninth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) appearance of the season. The driver of the No. 61 AISIN Toyota Supra capitalized on several late race opportunities to secure his fourth NXS top-10 finish in his 11th career start.
A loose condition in qualifying yielded the 15th-fastest lap for Hill on Saturday morning and started the 189-lap race from row eight. Just like the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, the entire 45 laps in Stage 1 went green as Hill battled with a loose condition. He ran as high as 13th on lap seven and finished the stage in 17th position.
Under the stage caution, the AISIN team made a significant chassis adjustment in the left front without losing any position along with four tires and fuel. Hill restarted 17th on lap 54 and held that position until another yellow on lap 70. He once again came to pit road for tires to set up an off-sequence strategy for the final stage. After receiving four tires and additional adjustments, Hill restart 24th on lap 76 and finished Stage 2 in 18th.
A fuel only pit stop netted Hill the seventh position on the lap 97 restart among other competitors with fresh rubber. The strategy play proved to be a net gain after running inside the top-15 for the majority of a 45-lap run past halfway. Hill restarted 14th on lap 149 and methodically worked his way towards the top 10 in the final 40 laps. He successfully escaped two accidents in the last 30 laps and broke into the top 10 on lap 160. Hill was scored as high as eighth on lap 180 and maintained his ninth-place position on the green-white-checkered to conclude the afternoon.
Austin Hill Quote:“We just kept working on it. The track was kind of weird. It would kind of fire off and we’d be okay for a few laps, then start fighting a little tight, then the next thing you know, we’d switch to being free. It was kind of hard to figure that out. But, we made some good adjustments. All the guys in the shop, Dave (McCarty), and all those guys did a really good job putting this AISIN Toyota Supra together to bring to the track. It’s definitely something to build on. I feel like a top-10 is really good for our organization. I hope everybody AISIN is happy with how we ran. Hopefully that kind of builds momentum going forward and going to Pocono, maybe we can sneak into the top-five and keep working at it.”