Saturday's motors: Austin Hill wins crash-filled Truck Series race at MIS
Brooklyn, Mich. — Austin Hill took the lead on the final restart with two laps remaining and went on to win the Corrigan Oil 200 in the NASCAR Truck Series race Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.
“We really wanted to win this one just because we’ve been in a slump, just keep having issues, just keep having stuff happen on the race track, so we’ve had a rough go at it and it was really good to get the monkey off our back,” said the 25-year-old Hill, who won earlier this season at Daytona. “It gives our team a ton of confidence going forward, so going into Bristol we’re going to have a ton of confidence and motivation."
The race was the regular-season finale, setting up the eight-driver field for the playoffs, which get under way Thursday night at Bristol.
Grant Enfinger entered the day first in points and solidly in the playoffs despite not winning a race. Matt Crafton was second, and without a win, but didn’t know what his chances would be if he didn’t reach Victory Lane.
Hill, Stewart Friesen, Brett Moffitt, Johnny Sauter, Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain also were locked into the playoffs, each owning at least one win, meaning just one playoff spot was open prior to the race.
And, when Hill won in his No. 16 Toyota by 0.125 over rookie Sheldon Creed to prevent Creed from a playoff spot, Crafton could let out a sigh of relief, taking that final playoff spot by finishing 10th.
“I wasn’t worried about it, but if we didn’t get there it would be a shame to think that we were second in points, had the best average finish of everybody all year in the truck series field and be knocked out, but we did what we had to do today,” Crafton said.
On the restart with four laps to go, Ankrum and Hill were battling for the lead when Crafton gave Ankrum a push — while on the outside — which ultimately sent Ankrum spinning which caused a multi-car crash to send out yet another caution.
On the previous restart, while starting from the inside Crafton pushed Ankrum which resulted in Ankrum taking the lead.
“I asked a couple of people and they said it looked like he (Ankrum) was still spinning the tires when I hit him,” Crafton said. “I would never try to wreck somebody like that. We worked so well together on the restarts.”
Moffitt was the defending race champion. He felt he would have won if the race stayed caution-free during the final 20 laps.
“I think if it would have gone green the last 20 laps we probably would have won it because our truck was just that strong,” Moffitt said.
In Lexton, Ohio, Austin Cindric raced to his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series victory, holding off Christopher Bell at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The 20-year-old Cindric won for the first time in the series last week on the road course at Watkins Glen.
“To get my first two wins within a week is incredible,” he said. “To win on a road course like this obviously gives you a lot of confidence.”
Driving the Team Penske No. 22 Ford, Cindric finished 3.780 seconds ahead of Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. A.J. Allmendinger, driving a Chevy for the northeast-Ohio based Kaulig Racing was third, 10.290 seconds behind.
Points leader Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing was fourth. His lead is 28 points over Bell.
Associated Press contributed