Austin Hill wrapped up the doubleheader weekend at Kansas Speedway with a sixth-place finish on Saturday afternoon for his ninth top-10 finish in 10 races. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra extended his lead in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship standings to 43 points one day after claiming his first victory of the season. Hill led three times on Saturday afternoon for 19 laps and earned 35 points, the fourth-most of any driver in the field.
Hill started Saturday’s 134-lap event in 15th after a 15-truck invert from Friday’s finishing order set the starting lineup. Despite Friday’s victory, Hill wrestled with an extremely loose balance on the No. 16 Toyota Tundra during the opening stage and ran in 12th position at the end of Stage 1 at lap 30.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the United Rentals team put on two fresh tires to gain track position and adjusted the track bar under the stage break. The strategy play by Zipadelli allowed Hill to take the lead on lap 37 for four laps. While Hill finished Stage 2 in seventh on lap 60, the tire strategy was a net-gain for the No. 16 team.
Under the lap 61 caution, Hill received four fresh tires and a left rear spring rubber change to add grip on the exit of each corner. The adjustment returned Hill to the track in 12th, but an improved balance allowed him to advance to sixth by lap 69. A sequence of quick cautions and varied pit strategies throughout the field shuffled the running order and cycled Hill to the 13th position following a lap 83 caution. The restart on lap 88 saw Hill have a highlight reel masterpiece of a restart as he knifed his way from 13th to third in just two laps. He took the lead on lap 100 for thirteen circuits before the loose handling condition hampered his bid for a second-consecutive victory. Hill fought fiercely for each spot and regained the sixth position on the final lap for his ninth top-10 of the season.
Austin Hill Quote:
“Yesterday went really well for us with us getting the win. That was awesome to get that checked off and be able to get locked in. Today, was a dogfight for us, to say the least. We started off way, way too loose. I could not attack my entry and center off. I was so loose; I could not touch the throttle. Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys, they worked so hard. Every caution we threw everything we can at it to tighten this truck up. We got it better throughout each run. We just kept slowly working at it, and we made some big enough adjustments that on the short run we could really fire off good, get some track position. All-in-all in the long run, we were just missing something today. I don’t know what it was compared to yesterday. I don’t know if it was the heat or just how the track was or what. We definitely missed it today on just having the long-run speed compared to yesterday. All-in-all, our United Rentals Toyota Tundra was good. Comparing yesterday to today, it was crazy that the track changed that much and that our Tundra changed that much."