KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Austin Hill had amassed seven top-10 finishes in the first eight races of the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) season. On Friday night in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Kansas Speedway, he recorded his eighth top-10, but more importantly his first win.
The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra for Hattori Racing Enterprises did it in dominating, fashion, defeating second-place finisher Brett Moffitt by 2.928 seconds. Hill led a total of 65 of the 134 laps, including the final 39, as he secured his spot in the 2020 NGROTS Playoffs. Grant Enfinger placed third, while fellow ThorSport driver Matt Crafton was fourth.
The race was the first of two NGROTS races in as many days at Kansas Speedway, the first time in Series history that Truck races have been run on consecutive days. For Hill, the doubleheader could not have started out any better.
“This is awesome and we’ve been working so hard for this,” said Hill, who notched Hattori Racing Enterprise’s (HRE) first victory at Kansas Speedway. “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. I can’t thank everybody enough at HRE, Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys, they work their tails off week in and week out.”
For Hill, it was his fifth Truck Series win over the last two years. He is pleased with the adjustments his team made tonight and feels that it will give him confidence heading into tomorrow’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series e.p.t 200.
“Just really awesome adjustments from Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and all the guys,” Hill said. “We started off way too loose during the first run, got looser and looser as the run went on and we were just trying to keep up with it throughout the night. That last restart battle with Brett (Moffitt) was pretty awesome. I was tight enough to stay on the bottom and clear him and finally clear him enough to drive away from him and keep him in my mirror. I wouldn’t say I’m the best at running the top. That’s probably the first time I’ve actually run the top all the way around the top and that many laps consecutively. It just gave me a ton of confidence going into tomorrow being able to get up against the wall and having the confidence to run up there. I’ve always been a bottom feeder. It just boosts my confidence a little going into tomorrow being able to run the top.”
Derek Kraus place fifth and was the highest finishing rookie in the field. It the second top-5 finish in 14 career NGROTS starts for the 18-year old from Stratford, Wisconsin, who missed his high school graduation ceremonies tonight to take part in the weekend’s Truck Series doubleheader.
There were 16 lead changes among eight drivers and four cautions for 19 laps.
Friday’s events at Kansas Speedway were scheduled to conclude with the running of the ARCA Menards Series Dawn 150, slated for 9:00 p.m., CT.
Saturday’s races at Kansas Speedway will include the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series e.p.t 200 at 12:30 p.m., CT (FS1) to be followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 250 at 4:00 p.m., CT (NBCSN).
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About Kansas Speedway
Kansas Speedway is a premier motorsports facility in the Midwest. The track, which opened in 2001, hosts two NASCAR Cup Series weekends each year, along with approximately 200 other event days each year. The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, which opened in 2012, overlooks Turn 2 of the track.