Austin Hill and his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series No. 16 Hattori Racing team were hoping to come out of Chicagoland Speedway Friday night with a win.
Hill and company had a great start to their day, qualifying the No. 16 SiriusXM Toyota Tundra on the pole, the first pole of his Truck Series career. But, he was only able to lead twice for 10 laps and had to settle for running in the top five or top 10 for most of the night. Hill finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in Stage 1 and 2.
Despite strong stage finishes, a long green-flag run ensued after a caution on Lap 80. With less than 35 to go, the last round of green flag pit stops began to take place. Hill pitted with 30 to go from the top five. However, the adjustments weren’t quite enough for Hill and the Hattori Racing team, as they would have to settle for a disappointing fifth-place finish after starting on the pole.
“We’re definitely disappointed with fifth place,” Hill said to MRN Radio in his post-race interview. “We thought we had the speed to possibly win tonight, it just wasn’t there. We really thought the track was going to free up throughout the night and our truck just kept tightening up and tightening up. We could never just get on the other side of it.”
“That last pit stop under green, we put a dent in it, but we still needed some more to be able to run with the top three. All in all, it was a great effort. I think we only fell back to sixth one time. For majority of the time, we ran inside the top five. Can’t thank HRE enough, Scott (Zipadelli, Crew Chief), they put a lot of work into these trucks and we want to win. So top five is okay but still frustrated. We’ll work on it.”
This was Hill’s third top five of the 2019 season.