Austin Hill closed out his 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) campaign with a 20th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 61 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Supra ran inside the top-10 for a significant portion of the day but was hampered by a flat tire past the halfway mark. The result was Hill’s best in two NXS starts at TMS and will finish his season by chasing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owners’ title with two races remaining.
Hill started the afternoon from 21st position and began to fight a tight condition through the bumps at both ends of the speedway. Hill drove inside the top-15 despite the tightness in the second-half of the corners until a caution on lap 40 presented a strategy opportunity. The Toyota Tsusho team called Hill to pit road for four tires and a left rear spring rubber adjustment and restarted 24th for a one-lap dash to end stage 1 on lap 45.
The HRE team kept Hill on track during the stage caution on lap 46 to inherit the eighth position for the lap 52 restart. The Winston, Ga. wheelman made one of his characteristic three-wide moves on the restart to capture a top-five position. Hill maintained a position inside the top-10 until lap 69 as the balance on his Toyota Supra was significantly tighter due to the splitter hitting the racing surface. Hill finished Stage 2 in 16th on lap 90 as the balance was beginning to improve.
After pitting on lap 100 for a left front shock adjustment, Hill’s progress up through the field from 28th was mitigated due to a soft tire. Hill went a lap down on lap 139 and pitted under the lap 141 caution, after which the HRE team discovered the deflating tire. The remainder of the afternoon saw Hill valiantly fight for the Lucky Dog position to regain his lap, but a fortuitous caution failed to fly. Over the final 21 laps, Hill delivered consistent lap times well within the top-10 and secured a 20th-place finish at the checkered flag.
Austin Hill Quote:
“We ended the day really good with our Toyota Tsusho Supra. We started off too tight and had too much splitter contact the second run, but the guys kept making really good adjustments and got our car to where we could have definitely finished in the top-10. We were really tight on that long run just past halfway, so it’s unfortunate to have that tire slowly going down and caused us to lose a lap. The guys did a good job staying with it all day and we're able to show what kind of speed we had in our Toyota Tsusho Supra.”