Austin Hill earned his fourth consecutive Top-20 finish of the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season with a 18th place finish in the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
Hill turned his first ever laps at Kentucky Speedway during Wednesday’s practice sessions, piloting the No. 02 Ford F-150.
After taking to Turns 1 and 2 of the newly repaved surface almost immediately, Hill and the team made a series of adjustments during the two sessions to help the truck turn better through the center of Turns 3 and 4. While many teams used the final practice session on the newly repaved surface to focus on their qualifying setup, the team chose to focus on how the truck would handle during race conditions. Hill ended final practice 24th fastest, confident in how the truck would race the following evening and told the team the truck “felt faster and more stable through the turn than it has all year.”
After qualifying 19th for Thursday night’s race Hill expertly avoided several early race incidents, and the team elected to pit under caution for adjustments to help the handling of the truck. After restarting 20th on Lap 35, Hill reported that the handling of the truck was much better. The improvements showed on the track as Hill climbed through the field, running as high as eighth place when the caution flew just shy of the halfway mark.
The final caution of the night flew on Lap 104 and the team made their final pit stop for four tires and fuel. The handling of the No. 02 fell off in the last 40 laps of the race and Hill fought to remain on the lead lap, bringing home an 18th place finish.
“The truck was really good after we made adjustments on the first pit stop,” said Hill. “It got tighter and tighter over the course of the race, especially off of Turn 4, and it made it difficult to race around anybody. An 18th place finish isn’t what we were hoping for but we’ll take it and move forward.”
Austin Hill PR