Trackin' Trucks: Austin Hill Wins at Daytona

Austin Hill celebrates at the finish line at Daytona.
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series kicked off the season at Daytona International Speedway on Friday in thrilling fashion, with Austin Hill taking the victory in double overtime.

Hill, who is now racing for the 2018 championship team at Hattori Racing Enterprises, led three times for 39 laps before bringing his No. 16 Toyota to Victory Lane for the first time in his NGOTS career.

“That whole last lap, my heart was pounding,” Hill said, “I thought they were going to get to the outside, and we were going to have a drag race. But I was able to protect it.

“I can’t believe my first win came at Daytona. It’s surreal. I can’t wait to party with these guys.”

Grant Enfinger finished second after being involved in a 12-truck pileup on Lap 54.

“I didn’t have anybody lined up behind me coming out of Turn 4,” Enfinger said. “I wonder if it’s a full moon tonight — carnage everywhere.”

The NextEra Energy 250 saw 11 cautions, resulting in only nine of 32 drivers finishing the event, the fewest trucks to finish since Daytona in 2005.

Natalie Decker’s first series start ended prematurely on Lap 2, when she suffered a cut tire and broken oil line alongside teammate David Gilliland’s cut tire.

Decker brought her Toyota to a stop on pit road as it burst into flames at the left wheel. Her team extracted her from the vehicle, and she finished 32nd.

Under the caution, the No. 28 of Bryan Dauzat pitted after hitting the wall moments before Decker brought out the caution. Dauzat was unable to bring his Chevrolet to a stop and hit his jackman Billy Rock.

Rock was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation, but was awake and alert, per NASCAR officials.

Ross Chastain finished third, followed by Spencer Boyd and Matt Crafton.

Angela Ruch finished eighth in her first series start since 2010. The finish is the second highest by a female driver in NGOTS history. Jennifer Jo Cobb holds the record with her sixth-place finish at Daytona in 2011.

A crash on Lap 99 collected the leader of the race and nine other cars, sending the event into its first overtime. Austin Wayne Self and Bobby Gerhart made contact on the backstretch to bring out the caution for the final time.

A Look Ahead

The Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. The 2018 series champ Brett Moffitt won the race one year ago. Can he rebound from his Daytona crash and collect his first victory for GMS Racing?

Find out on Feb. 23rd at 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Trackin' Trucks: Austin Hill Wins at Daytona Trackin' Trucks: Austin Hill Wins at Daytona Reviewed by Anonymous on Saturday, February 16, 2019 Rating: 5