ShareThis Page
Austin Hill earns 1st Truck Series victory in Daytona opener | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Austin Hill earns 1st Truck Series victory in Daytona opener

Associated Press
759971_web1_759971-564171155d16485b805338981f5d732f
AP
Austin Hill celebrates in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Truck Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
759971_web1_759971-6f3f9456a5404c8ab08ce44221d376c4
AP
Austin Hill (16) celebrates his win in a NASCAR Truck Series auto race Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
759971_web1_759971-be74900e0f6a410c821764027821dcba
AP
Natalie Decker (54) is helped out of her truck on pit road after it caught fire on the track during a NASCAR Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
759971_web1_759971-e65d16c656f84ff8afd46b64bfcd2507
AP
Natalie Decker stands by her truck before the NASCAR Truck Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
759971_web1_759971-9c69d59f063b45a4a546c69d97d8e8e0
AP
Jordan Anderson (3) hits the outside wall in Turn 4, starting a multi-truck collision during a NASCAR Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Austin Hill blocked his way to his first career Truck Series victory in a crash-marred season-opener Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.

With only nine of the 32 trucks still running in the second overtime, Hill had to block Grant Enfinger for most of the final lap. He needed a last big, bold maneuver to hold off Enfinger as they rushed toward the checkered flag.

“When we went overtime, man, I was just so scared. So much stuff was running through my head,” Hill said. “That whole last lap my heart was pounding. I thought they were going to get to my outside and make it a drag race. I never thought in a million year I would win at Daytona.”

Hill won for Hattori Racing and solidified the team’s decision to release reigning series champion Brett Moffitt a month after Moffitt won the title. Hattori Racing struggled all last season with funding, but Moffitt won the final two races of the year to give the underdog team an unexpected championship.

Team owner Shige Hattori released Moffitt and signed Hill, who had some financial backing, in early January. The 24-year-old won for the first time in 52 career Truck Series starts and Hattori has won three straight dating to last season.

Enfinger finished second and summed up the race as “carnage everywhere.”

Ross Chastain was third, followed by Spencer Boyd and Matt Crafton. Angela Ruch, the niece of 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, finished eighth. She and Natalie Decker both made the Truck Series opener and are the only two women racing at NASCAR’s national level on opening weekend.

Ruch’s finish is the second-highest for a female driver in the Truck Series, trailing Jennifer Jo Cobb, who was sixth at Daytona in 2011.

Decker’s national debut ended just two laps into the race when a flat left front tire caused her truck to catch fire. She drove it to pit road as flames shot from under her hood and crew members helped pull Decker from the truck. One used a little too much force as he shoved Decker out of the way and she stumbled over the pit wall.

Decker is trying to race in five different series this season, and Daytona was the first of 12 scheduled Truck Series races.

A crew member was struck on pit road by driver Bryan Dauzat during that hectic early caution. Dauzat had lost his brakes and warned his team over his radio he wasn’t going to be able to stop, and jackman Billy Rock was hit as he crossed in front of the truck.

The impact sent the crew member sprawling to the ground, but he was awake and alert as he was transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

The series opener featured three-wide racing that stretched five or more rows into the field, but it contributed to the race-record 11 cautions that eliminated all the top contenders.

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Truck Series title sponsor Gander Outdoors, offered financial incentives to the competitors in the pre-race driver meeting. Lemonis, star of “The Profit” on CNBC, pledged an additional $10,000 and a travel trailer to the Daytona winner. He also promised a $100,000 bonus to the championship-winning crew as well as other incentives for the upcoming season.

“How come we’re not more fired up tonight? Are we fired up?” Lemonis said to the competitors.

Categories: Sports | US-World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.