Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill has had impeccable consistency throughout the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season, but heading into Friday night’s World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he had only scored one win.
However, Hill inherited the lead on a late race restart when Sheldon Creed was put three wide and slipped down the running order. In the end, Creed would rally, but Hill was able to hold off the race’s dominant truck for the win.
For Hill, it was all about changing his lane to take the clean air away from Creed.
“I was probably looking out my mirror more than I was out front,” Hill said. “I knew he was better than we were and I knew I was going to have to protect. That’s the first time I’ve run the wall around this place. It was almost intimidating for the first three or four laps when I moved up. But I knew as I disturbed his air, it would keep him behind me and he would have to change his lane.”
Hill, who had a disappointing start to the Playoffs at Bristol Motor Speedway last week, now advances to the next round with his win, the sixth of his NGROTS career.
Creed held on to finish second after leading a race-high 89 laps. To say Creed was deflated by the runner-up finish would be an understatement.
“Just frustrated,” Creed explained. “Best truck I’ve had all year and best truck I’ve ever had at this race track. Could kind of go wherever I wanted in [turns] 1 and 2, and 3 and 4 I was a little free but I could do whatever I wanted there. Coming to the last restart, I was pretty confident. Then [Eckes] puts me three wide and I lose six to seven spots.”
Tanner Gray finished an impressive third in the DGR Crosley No. 15 truck, while Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith finished fourth and fifth.
Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Brett Moffitt, who started from the pole and ran well for the majority of the race, faded late and finished 15th.
The only Playoff driver to finish outside the top-15 was Ben Rhodes in 23rd. Rhodes spun his truck on lap 83 and backed it into the inside wall.
Here is the Updated 2020 NGROTS Playoff Grid with one race left in the Round of 10:
- Austin Hill, Locked in (win)
- Sheldon Creed, +52 points
- Brett Moffitt, +44
- Zane Smith, +39
- Grant Enfinger, +31
- Tyler Ankrum, +15
- Matt Crafton, +15
- Christian Eckes, +6
9. Ben Rhodes, -6
10. Todd Gilliland, -19
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.