Hill Scores Runner-Up in Mid-Ohio DebutJune 5, 2021
Austin Hill delivered a runner-up finish in his debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday evening in his first ARCA Menards Series (ARCA) start in nearly three years. The driver of the No. 1 ARCO National Construction Toyota Camry tallied his best-career road course finish and his best result in his four career ARCA starts.
Hill’s qualifying practice session was cut short due to a transmission issue after minimal track time on a course which he had never previously competed. In that abbreviated time, Hill posted the seventh-fastest lap of the session and lined up in row four for the green flag. The first caution of the event came out on the opening lap, but not before Hill instantly cracked the top five. The Georgian went to work during the ensuing 14-lap green flag run and grabbed the third position on lap 16 before a caution on lap 19 served as the event’s halfway break.
The ARCO National Construction team armed Hill with four fresh tires and slight chassis adjustments under the caution to add lateral side bite in his Toyota Camry for the second half. The restart on lap 26 featured some physical racing in Turn 2 and momentarily bumped Hill outside the top five. He briefly moved back to sixth position, but quickly recovered and claimed the runner-up position on lap 29. With 13 laps to go, Hill began to reel in the No. 18 of Ty Gibbs, who entered the event with four wins in six starts this season. The two drivers traded lap times over the final circuits as Hill took the checkered flag in second for his best road course finish in ARCA competition.
Austin Hill Quote:
“Our ARCO Toyota Camry was really solid. I think the biggest thing that hurt us a little bit was we didn’t really get any practice. We only got, I think, two laps of practice and had a transmission issue, so we had to fix that. That just kind of put us behind the eight ball a little bit. I felt like if we could have maybe worked on it a little bit during practice we might have could have closed the gap some. But, I could tell that when (Gibbs) had that little bit of a lead that he was saving his tires a little bit and I was pushing hard and trying to get to him. I kind of over overheated the front tires too much and I had to back off and let them cool back off. When I did that he started pulling away again. So we just kind of had a cat and mouse game going on where I would run him down a few laps and he’d pull me a few laps. All in all, it was a really solid effort for everyone back at the shop. Everybody at HRE, they do a really good job bringing these fast Toyotas to the racetrack. I’m excited to go to Watkins Glen next and see if we can get a win there.”