Austin Hill “Ultimate Smooth” strives for glory on the Indy Road

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Quick, what are Austin Hill’s best tracks in his rookie NASCAR Xfinity Series season?

First, there are the super sprints, with driver Richard Childress Racing winning twice (Daytona, Atlanta 2), finishing second (Atlanta 1) and crashing (Talladega).

After the racetracks, the 28-year-old’s most intense form of racing was… *drum roll*…on-road courses.

Entering the Saturday (July 30) race on the Indianapolis road track, Hill finished in the top five in all three road track events this season.

He was second at the Circuit of the Americas in March and followed that up by finishing third in the rain in Portland and then coming home to fourth at Rhode America.

Saturday, Hill will start in ninth after a disappointing qualifying round.

He will try to earn his third NASCAR Xfinity Series career, but his second NASCAR win is on the road track. In case you forgot, Hill claimed to race the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Watkins Glen International.

If “Austin Hill, Road Course Ice” (Austin Hill, Road Course Ice) sneaks in (it did it for me), Hill doesn’t seem surprised by that.

“I’m really excited for the day,” Hill said, “I love track racing on the road.” expansion Friday before the playoffs. “We feel the road courses owe us a bit just because we were so good on the road courses and showed speed. We just make it to the end of the race and we miss that a little bit to come home with a win.”

Hill, who has 155 NASCAR starts via Truck and Xfinity, said his love of road courses goes back to his racing days in Bandoleros and Legends.

The race results in the driver “really misusing the car” to get the job done.

“Anytime we’ve had road races, I just love it…every change you make, you turn right and left. You drive one of those race cars to go fast,” Hill said. And that’s what I love about it. I feel like he’s kind of putting it in the driver’s hands.”

When practice wrapped up on Friday, it was no surprise that AJ Allmendinger topped the pace chart – and eventually took the lead.

But behind the track veteran in second place was Hill. In his #21 Chevrolet, Hill scored a fast practice lap of 95,524 mph.

The Allmendinger, who won the inaugural cup race at the Indianapolis Road Course last year, noted Hill’s success this year.

“I think it’s very smooth,” Almender said. “He doesn’t really make a lot of mistakes. He just makes sure he’s there during the race. And it all comes out of it.”

The Allmendinger has a better sense of Hill’s ability than the others thanks to Kaulig Racing’s technical alliance with RCR.

“It’s nice to have him here…so we can bounce ideas off each other and make your cars even better,” said Allmendinger. “He does a great job. I thought the same way he was in the trucks, he was always there. Then he started winning some races, he got the confidence and he did a great job in that car. You just know he’s going to be there at the end of this race inside the top five. somewhere and you will have to fight with him.”

Unfortunately for Hill, he wasn’t quite as well as he would have liked in qualifying, finishing ninth ahead of Justin Algayer.

After making the second round, Hill got his right-side tires on curb in Turn 14 heading into the front extension, spoiling his lap start.

“It wasn’t a pretty hug,” Hill said. expansion Then. “You want to use all possible methods, but if you hit it a certain way, it can really upset the car and hit it the wrong way…Then I just started making little mistakes here and there which added up all the time lap just trying to push as hard as I could.”

Despite the error, Hill has maintained his streak of qualifying within the top ten in every race on the road this season.

“I felt like the car was good. Probably a little bit better than I was today honestly,” Hill said. “But I think it would be a fun race if we could stay out of the scrimmage, all the chaos, and stay ahead all day. I think we have a good chance of that.”


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