Hill's Methodical March at Daytona Comes Up ShortFebruary 13, 2021
Austin Hill’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season began with a 22nd-place result at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) after being involved in late-race calamity. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra had executed a methodical march through the field and into contention before a multi-truck accident on lap 95 ended his bid for a second DIS victory.
The Winston, Ga native’s fourth full-time Camping World Trucks season started from the 18th position on Friday evening, and exercised patience in the race’s first stage. While many drivers stayed committed to the bottom line, Hill ventured to the outside lane and ran as high as 11th before finishing 15th in stage 1 on lap 20. During the stage break, Hill came to the attention of crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a tight balance on corner exits.
Hill had the same game plan in Stage 2 after restarting 16th on lap 27 and worked his way forward via the outside lane. He stayed out during a yellow flag on lap 35 and was able to collect four points while running seventh position at lap 40.
Track position was a premium as the lead pack was virtually locked together in two-by-two formation. Hill pitted for fuel only under the lap 60 caution in an effort to leapfrog positions towards the front. The pit call by Zipadelli preserved Hill’s track position and ran inside the top five with 20 laps remaining. Hill continued to shuffle for a top-five position until two trucks made contact directly in front of him on lap 95 off Turn 2 and collected the United Rentals Tundra. The No. 16 team made sufficient repairs which allowed Hill to return to the speedway to collect a 22nd-place finish at the checkered flag.
Austin Hill Quote:
“Definitely not the way we wanted it to end, or what we deserved. The United Rentals Tundra was good and had good speed to push our way through the field. We were pretty patient most of the night just trying to make the right moves to pick our way towards the front. Scott (Zipadelli) made a couple fuel only calls and kept us towards the front where we could get into the top five. It was so difficult to generate runs and make many moves tonight. The side draft would pull you back and stall out most runs that we had. We were in a decent spot towards the end to be in the mix and hate that we got torn up. We’ll come back down here next week and see what we can do on the road course.”