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NASCAR Truck: Austin Hill wins first race of Kansas doubleheader

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – JULY 24: Austin Hill, driver of the #16 United Rentals Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Kansas 200 at Kansas Speedway on July 24, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After claiming four wins in 2019, Austin Hill took his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win of 2020 in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200, the first race of a weekend Truck Series doubleheader at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City, on Friday night.

“This is awesome, and we’ve been working so hard for this,” Hill said. “Last week was a bummer having engine troubles, and I told the guys before coming here, ‘Let’s go finish three spots better,’ and I’ll be dang if we didn’t do it. Can’t thank everybody enough at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys; they work their tails off week in and week out. First win with the United Rentals paint scheme, and that’s awesome. They’ve been a tremendous partner for me throughout my career. I’ve been wanting to get a win with these colors on, and I’m so glad I was able to do it. That last pit stop, I tried to brake check a little bit and got out in fourth, because I wanted to be in the high lane. I got tagged from behind; that was my fault, and I apologize to Brett (Moffitt) when he hit me. I had it for Scott and the guys; they now have to replace the bumper to get ready for tomorrow. But I think the win was worth it.”

In the final laps, Hill pulled away from a battle for second position between Brett Moffitt and Grant Enfinger and took the win after leading a race-high 65 laps. Moffitt came out tops in that battle for runner-up honors. Enfinger wound up third.

Matt Crafton and Derek Kraus rounded out the top-five.

After a caution for Korbin Forrister, the race restarted on lap 86 of the 134-lap total distance with Ross Chastain in the lead after taking fuel only on his pit stop, Crafton in second and Hill and Moffitt in the second row in third and fourth. Hill and Crafton battled for the lead on the restart, with Hill taking the position as Chastain lost several spots on the restart.

Then Moffitt waged a battle with Hill for the lead and the two traded the position back-and-forth before Hill also came out on top of that battle. Then, Enfinger took his turn at battling Hill for the lead before eventually falling back to a battle for second with Moffitt.

“Really, those last 20 laps felt like they went on forever,” Hill said. “I started thinking, ‘What am I going to do when a caution comes out? Am I going to choose the outside or inside lane and how hard do I drive it into the corner on old tires?” Just a lot of things were going through my head. I’m glad we didn’t have to do a green-white-checkered finish, and it just ended like it did. The United Rentals Toyota Tundra was really fast tonight. We do have some work for tomorrow. It felt like on the long run we were just way too free. I had to really pedal it through the corner, but we were good enough tonight.”

After being the leader for the restart on older tires, Chastain cut a tire and made an unscheduled pit stop as the laps wound down.

Moffitt and Hill were the stage winners, with Moffitt winning the first 30-lap stage and Hill up front when the second stage ended on lap 60.

Moffitt and Todd Gilliland split the laps in the opening stage, each leading 15. Moffitt took the lead from pole sitter Christian Eckes on the opening lap but lost the lead to Gilliland on lap nine. Moffitt, then, retook the lead on lap 24.

Eckes and Ben Rhodes were on the front row for the restart at the beginning of the second stage after they stayed out during the caution between stage one and two. Both drivers had already pitted during a caution that came out for a Robby Lyons spin on lap 19.

Eckes maintained his lead on the restart, but lost that lead to Hill on lap 41.

Eckes and Rhodes were, once again, on the front row for the restart after the second stage, this time around with Rhodes in the lead and Eckes in second. But when the race returned to green, Eckes took the lead and ran up front until Zane Smith took the lead on lap 69.

Smith continued to lead until the final caution for Forrister’s incident. The caution for Lyons and the yellow flag for Forrister were the only two yellow flags for on-track incidents.

Smith finished sixth, Rhodes was seventh, Sheldon Creed eighth, Johnson Sauter ninth, and Gilliland finished 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Kansas Speedway:

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Posted by on July 25, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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