Austin Hill’s promising run inside the top-10 ended abruptly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with an overheating issue which relegated him to a 30th-place finish on Friday night. Despite the result, Hill remains the only NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) regular with a victory and holds the only guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
Hill turned in his career-best qualifying effort of sixth and took advantage of the track position from the outset. He quickly moved his No. 16 A&D Welding Toyota Tundra into the top five and advanced to third on lap 17. However, Hill reported that his water and oil gauges were reading excessively high temperatures and began to diagnose possible issues. He finished the first stage in third and came to pit road under the lap 41 caution.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli gave Hill two tires and pulled grille tape to help cool the engines for Stage Two. Hill restarted sixth and nearly contact the outside wall after contact from another competitors in turn two on lap 41. Hill ran out the balance of the stage while dealing with a tight condition, but managed to collect three points in eighth on lap 60 while he battled increasing temperatures.
Hill’s evening came to an end on lap 80 when he came to pit road as the hot temperatures began to push water out the overflow. Hill and the A&D Welding team were forced to retire early due to overheating issues after 82 laps. The 30th-place finish has Hill third in the NGOTS driver standings after three of 16 regular season races.
Austin Hill Quote:
“It’s a bummer to overheat like that and take a good finish away from us. We had a really strong A&D Welding Tundra tonight and definitely had a truck we could have raced in the top three-five tonight. We started off a little too tight in Stage 1, but we were definitely close. The temps were showing hot almost from the start and thought we might have had a bad gauge. It started pushing water past halfway and we just couldn’t get it cooled down. I hate it for these guys. They definitely deserved better. We’ll go to Martinsville and get back on track there.”