Austin Hill Repeats At Las Vegas

(LAS VEGAS, NV - SEP 25, 2020 - RIS) Austin Hill goes back to Victory Lane at Las Vegas with his second win after winning the Fall race here last year. Sheldon Creed dominated the race until a late restart, when other traffic dropped him back and let Hill grab the lead.

Indy Car racer Conor Daly and X Games superstar Travis Pastrana started the race with more on the line than just beating each other for finishing position - they have a cash bet on the outcome of the race. A dollar bill in a frame is the stake, so the frame will likely cost far more than the stakes. Daly, a veteran of open-wheel racing since his teen years, had never turned a wheel in a truck before the green flag flew. Before the race, NASCAR announced that Natalie Decker had not been medically approved to run and would be scored as last finisher in the race. No reason for this was given at the time of writing.

On the green flag, Matt Crafton fell back in the field, with several near-incidents. Sheldon Creed took the lead from Brett Moffitt and held it through the first two stages. Ben Rhodes complained about oil smell in his truck but he moved into the top ten after the second stage.

The battle between Daly and Pastrana was never a real battle as Daly kept moving steadily up from his 27th place starting position to 19th, while Pastrana lost a lap, got the free pass at the end of stage two, but spent a long time in the pits with some body damage on the right rear.

Rookie Christian Eckes battled his way around Creed and Moffitt early in the final stage, until Creed swept around on the high line, followed on the next lap by Moffitt. Creed opened up the lead over Moffitt to almost a second within just a few laps as Eckes' truck started to fall back in the standings.

Ben Rhodes' spin in the second turn brought out the first unscheduled yellow on lap 83. Rhodes' No. 99 truck had a fire under the right front fender in the pits and his stop was extended with the need for fender repairs.

At the restart, Austin Hill jumped into the low lane and into second place behind Creed but Jordan Anderson's truck appeared to break the track bar at the green and he parked it at the exit of pit road, bringing out the caution immediately.

Austin Hill eased into the lead from an inside row restart, while Creed fell back from the front row before starting back in a charge to the front with Friesen almost a half second behind Hill until Creed got around and back to second place.

Creed's pursuit of Hill over the closing laps of the race appeared to have ended with 11 lap left when he brushed the wall in the first turn after a too-high entry into the turn but Creed recovered and closed to within a half second but could not close, with Hill winning his second Fall race at Las Vegas. As he crossed the finish line, Conor Daly's truck started spraying sparks and flame from the rear axle. "The ironic thing was that right after Bristol, right after we took the checkered flag I said, 'let's keep our heads up, we're going to go to Vegas and win it.' Heck, we did it," said Hill after winning. ":We didn't have the best truck tonight by no means. We had to fight a lot of adversity. Stage one and two, we weren't good at all. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys kept working on it and got it better and better. Pit crew did a hell of a job on that last pit stop getting me in the position that I needed to get into. I just had to get out there and get it. That's what we did. I knew clean air was huge so just had to get through the gears right and get to the lead. I knew this Weins Canada Toyota Tundra could probably hold off everybody, but Sheldon (Creed) was definitely way faster than me.

"I was probably looking in my mirror more than I was looking out front. I knew he (Sheldon Creed) was better than we were. I knew that I was going to have to protect and that's the first time I've rode the wall all the way around this place so it was almost a little intimidating for the first three or four laps when I moved up, but I knew as I disturbed his air that it would keep him behind me. He would have to change his lane. When he went to the bottom and he made a little bit of time, I thought he might be able to get me because my truck was so tight at the end that there was no way I could go to the bottom. That was a heck of a battle between me and him. I hope all the fans enjoyed it. I wish you were here. We have some really special guests on the truck today. I've got Tori (Costa) and Miss Cindy (Adkins). Miss Cindy, we're really thinking about her, she's fighting cancer right now. Tori is Scott's (Zipadelli, crew chief) daughter and she passed away a few years ago. Thinking about her. I know this means a lot to Scott, this is a tough time for him so just excited to get the job done for him. Thinking about my father in-law right now, he's really fighting a lot of adversity and been in and out of the hospital. A lot going on with family and it's nice to get a victory.

"For starters, our truck was terrible to start with, but that just goes to show how good Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and everybody back at the shop at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), how hard they work. They don't give up and I never gave up the whole race. We were riding around 12th to 15th pretty much the first two stages. The second stage, I think we ended up ninth or something so we didn't have very many stage points. I knew if we didn't go get it done and get the win that we were going to have to fight a lot of adversity going to Talladega. We just kept working on it and kept telling Scott what he truck was doing. It was really weird tonight, the way the air was. I don't know if it's this tire or what's going on, but it was really hard to pass in traffic. I knew there at the end, the 2 (Sheldon Creed) was definitely way faster than we were. If he would have gotten out front, he would have drove away from us. We had to play defense at that point. I knew as much as I stayed in front of him and kept the dirty air on him, I was mirror driving pretty much the whole time. I wasn't really looking ahead of me at what was going on. They work their tails off at the shop and they're the hardest working team in the garage area, I truly believe that. Our Weins Canada Toyota Tundra was decent tonight. We had to go out there and earn that one and we did it.

"I said it before when we were coming into the Playoffs, I wasn't going to change anything I've been doing all season. If you go look back at a lot of film, I've put a lot of people three wide on restarts just because they don't get through the gears as well as I've been doing this year. I've worked so hard to make these restarts as good a I can, trying to perfect them as good as I can. I know Kyle Busch, when he comes down here and runs the trucks, he's the master at these restarts. Just trying to learn all I can from him and whoever else that I can, watching film, watching video and that was just one of those deals, I knew if the 21 didn't get a great start then I was going for it. That put us in the right position, we had that caution and we just got a really, really good restart. We didn't really have anybody pushing us on that restart, but the 2 (Sheldon Creed) had to go out and block the 18 (Christian Eckes) so I have to thank the 18 a little bit for trying to make it three wide on him because that helped me clear him. We were really good short run, it was just that long run, we got so tight, my tires were terrible. They were chattering and I needed a mouth piece there the last couple laps. I was giving it all I had and my spotter Eddie (D'Hondt), he did a heck of a job. If it wasn't for him, we might not have won this race just because he told me where he was going, what lane he was – if he was a lane down or riding the wall and I just disturbed the air all race long. We got it done."

"Just frustrated, the best truck I've had all year and the best truck I've ever had," Creed said. "I could kind of go where ever I wanted to in One and Two." On the last restart he said "the 18 put me three wide and I lost about six or seven spots. I clawed my way back to second. We're all racing hard, this is the playoffs. That's racing. I think I showed my hand too early."

"Just frustrated," was how Moffitt described his race.

"That was terrifying for a long part of the race." said Conor Daly while joshing with Pastrana after the race. Daly finished three spots ahead of Pastrana and on the same lap. 

Unofficial Results, Westgate 200, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Truck, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 11, Austin Hill (P), No. 16 Weins Canada Toyota, 134, , 9, 1, 39, 5, 42, Running
2) 4, Sheldon Creed (P), No. 2 Chevy.com/Trench Shoring Chevrolet, 134, 1, 1, 2, 89, 2, 55, Running
3) 12, Tanner Gray #, No. 15 Ford/Ford Performance Ford, 134, 8, 10, , , , 38, Running
4) 17, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Halmar Racing To Beat Hunger Toyota, 134, , , , , , 33, Running
5) 5, Chandler Smith, No. 51 JBL/Smith General Contracting Toyota, 134, 10, , , , , 33, Running
6) 3, Grant Enfinger (P), No. 98 Champoin/Curb Records Ford, 134, 4, , , , , 38, Running
7) 7, Zane Smith # (P), No. 21 Michael Roberts Construction Chevrolet, 134, 5, 2, , , , 45, Running
8) 9, Christian Eckes # (P), No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota, 134, 7, 7, 1, 5, , 37, Running
9) 6, Matt Crafton (P), No. 88 Black Label Bacon/Menards Ford, 134, 9, 8, , , , 33, Running
10) 2, Tyler Ankrum (P), No. 26 LiUNA! Chevrolet, 134, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 13, Johnny Sauter, No. 13 Vivitar Ford, 134, , 6, , , , 31, Running
12) 23, Ryan Truex, No. 40 Marquis Chevrolet, 134, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 10, Todd Gilliland (P), No. 38 pneumatech Ford, 134, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 34, Dylan Lupton, No. 17 Fatal Motorsports Ford, 134, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 1, Brett Moffitt (P), No. 23 GMS Fabrication Chevrolet, 134, 2, 3, 1, 1, , 39, Running
16) 18, Tate Fogleman #, No. 02 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet, 134, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 26, Tyler Hill, No. 56 Hill Motorsports Chevrolet, 134, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 27, Conor Daly, No. 42 iRacing Chevrolet, 133, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 32, Spencer Davis, No. 11 Max Industrial Toyota, 133, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 15, Raphael Lessard #, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, 133, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 29, Travis Pastrana, No. 45 iRacing Chevrolet, 133, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 21, Clay Greenfield, No. 68 Rackley Roofing Toyota, 133, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 8, Ben Rhodes (P), No. 99 Tenda Heal Ford, 132, 6, 5, , , , 25, Running
24) 25, Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 JB Henderson Construction Chevrolet, 132, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 19, Danny Bohn, No. 30 North American Motor Car/Sierra Delta Toyota, 132, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 35, Ray Ciccarelli, No. 49 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, 131, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 16, Chase Purdy, No. 24 Bama Buggies Chevrolet, 131, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 24, Spencer Boyd, No. 20 Hairclub Chevrolet, 129, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 30, Josh Reaume, No. 00 Motorsports Safety Group/Colonial Countertops , 127, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 14, Derek Kraus #, No. 19 SHOCKWAVE/ENEOS Toyota, 125, 3, 4, , , , 22, Running
31) 31, Jesse Iwuji, No. 33 Mile Marker 10 Toyota, 115, , , , , , 6, Running
32) 20, Jordan Anderson, No. 3 FirstMate/Bommarito.com Chevrolet, 85, , , , , , 5, Track Bar
33) 36, Tim Viens, No. 83 Trump 2020 Chevrolet, 69, , , , , , 5, Too Slow
34) 28, Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Fastener Supply Company Chevrolet, 62, , , , , , 5, Oil Tank
35) 33, Dawson Cram, No. 41 Magnum Contracting Inc. Chevrolet, 16, , , , , , 5, Accident
36) 22, Natalie Decker, No. 44 Ruedebusch Development Chevrolet, 0, , , , , , 5, Fatigue
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (P) Playoffs qualified

Race Length: 134 laps, 201 miles
Time of Race: 1 hr, 40 min, 37 sec
Average Speed: 119.861 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.546 sec

Stage 1 Top 10: 2, 23, 19, 98, 21, 99, 18, 15, 88, 51
Stage 2 Top 10: 2, 21, 23, 19, 99, 13, 18, 88, 16, 15

Comments: Austin Hill won the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his sixth NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victory. Prior to the start of the race, no trucks were sent to the rear of the field.

Caution Flags: 5 for 25 laps;
Laps: 12-14 (Competition Caution [10]);
32-37 (Stage 1 Conclusion [49]);
62-67 (Stage 2 Conclusion [45]);
85-89 (No. 52, 99 Incident Turn 2 [30]);
91-95 (No. 3 Stopped on Track [49]).

Lead Changes: 4 among 4 drivers;
B. Moffitt (P) 1;
S. Creed (P) 2-67;
C. Eckes # (P) 68-72;
S. Creed (P) 73-95;
A. Hill (P) 96-134.

Cometic Gaskets Pole Award: Brett Moffitt, No. 23 
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Austin Hill, No. 16 

Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Tanner Gray, No. 15 

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2020, Issue 9, Posted 12:06 AM, 09.26.2020