Hill Battles Brake Issues in NXS Appearance at PoconoJune 28, 2021
Austin Hill capped off his first double-duty weekend at Pocono Raceway with a 25th-place finish on Sunday afternoon. The driver of the No. 61 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Supra battled brake issues during his second NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) start of the season a day after clinching a berth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs.
By virtue of his impressive ninth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway, Hill lined up 15th on the starting grid on Saturday afternoon and immediately moved forward. While coping with a tight handling condition and a front tire chatter in the Toyota Tsusho Supra, Hill ran as high as 12th in the race’s opening 11-lap run. After making a pit stop for tires and chassis adjustments, Hill radioed the HRE team that he was experiencing a “soft” brake pedal and began losing brake pressure at the end of Pocono’s long straightaways. After restarting 33rd on lap 18, Hill progressed forward and finished Stage 1 in 25th.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli called for a fuel-only pit stop and additional adjustments under the stage caution which allowed Hill to restart 12th on lap 25. He ran inside the top-15 after the restart, but his fading brakes became more of a hinderance as the green flag run wore on. Despite the issue, he kept the No. 61 in 16th at the end of Stage 2 on lap 40.
Hill excelled on restarts and short runs while his brakes were at their best and was scored 11th on lap 50. When the last round of pit stops commenced on lap 55, Hill maintained the 16th position as Zipadelli and company elected to run a long fuel stint to set up a strategy play in the closing laps. On lap 61, Hill was scored in sixth position and ran there until pitting on lap 76 for fuel only. The Winston, Ga. native was unfortunately nabbed with a pit road violation for crew members jumping over pit wall too soon. Hill resumed competition in 30th position as his brake pressure waned during the long 41-lap green flag run. He was able to nurse the Toyota Tsusho Supra home to the checkered flag in 25th position on lap 90.
Austin Hill Quote:
“I felt my brake pedal getting soft in the first stage and couldn’t get in the corner like we needed to. Even with that, we were able to maintain a decent pace, but the brakes just wound up fading too much over those long green-flag runs. I thought our Toyota Tsusho Supra would have been able to compete for back-to-back top-10’s if we didn’t have those issues, but we’ll go back and try to improve on our Xfinity package for when we go to Indy and Michigan in a few weeks.”