It’s been a while since playoff contender Austin Hill has been in victory lane. But after taking the lead on Lap 95, the Hattori Racing driver held on for the rest of the way, fending off a late charge by Sheldon Creed to score his first victory since Kansas in July.
“I was probably looking in my mirror more than I was looking out front,” Hill conceded of keeping Creed behind. “I knew he was better than we were and I knew I was going to have to protect. We didn’t have the best truck tonight, by no means,” Hill added. “We had to fight a lot of adversity in Stages One and Two. We weren’t good at all and [crew chief] Scott [Zipadelli] and the guys kept working on it and got better and better.”
“The pit crew did a hell of a job on that last pit stop getting me in the position I needed and I just had to go out there and get it and that’s what we did.”
Stages 30-30-74 laps made up the 134 lap event from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. No Trucks were sent to the rear as all drivers passed inspection. However, Niece Motorsports driver Natalie Decker was not cleared to drive by NASCAR officials due to unspecified medical reasons. Unfortunately for the Wisconsin driver, Decker was credited with a last-place finish.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 30
Brett Moffitt started on the pole and led Lap 1 but was challenged and passed by his GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed at Lap 2. More action was seen on the backstretch with the No. 88 of Matt Crafton having to check up after close contact with Creed. Then on Lap 5, the No. 4 of Raphael Lessard had problems and had to pit for a flat right-front tire. Meanwhile, Jesse Iwuji was black-flagged by NASCAR for not having radio communication.
During the competition caution on Lap 10, returning NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana was penalized for speeding on pit road and was sent to the rear. In addition, Ben Rhodes had smoke coming from underneath his No. 99 Ford F-150. The Kentucky native would face more problems, reporting, “no power.”
Back up front, Creed took the stage win with Moffitt, Kraus, Enfinger, Zane Smith, Rhodes, Christian Eckes, Tanner Gray, Crafton, and Chandler Smith wrapping up the Top 10.
Stage 2: Lap 37 – Lap 60
After the restart for Stage 2, the first few laps were run cleanly. But that was not the case for the No. 3 of Jordan Anderson due to the truck suffering a flat right-rear tire.
Toward the end of the stage, the No. 83 of Tim Viens was black-flagged for not meeting minimum speed. Viens would continue to face these problems throughout the night before eventually getting parked for being too slow.
As Stage 2 was completed on Lap 60, Creed was once again victorious by sweeping the stages. Zane Smith, Moffitt, Kraus, Rhodes, Sauter, Eckes, Crafton, Austin Hill, and Gray were the Top 10.
Stage 3: Lap 67 – Lap 134
Momentarily following the Stage 3 restart, Eckes and Creed swapped the lead a couple of times before Creed eventually grabbed the top spot on Lap 73. The California native would stay out front through the next two cautions on laps 85 and 90 until Austin Hill took the lead on a Lap 95 restart.
As the laps started to wind down in the World of Westgate 200, Creed started to close back to the bumper of the No. 16 Toyota of Hill. At one point with 13 laps to go, Creed closed the gap to 0.250 seconds. Unfortunately for Creed, his chances would go south with 10 laps to go, as the Californian made slight contact with the Turn(s) 1 and 2 walls.
Despite Creed’s best efforts, Hill held off Creed to return back to victory lane for the second time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the sixth victory of his Truck Series career.
Sheldon Creed, Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith, Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton, and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the Top 10 finishers at Las Vegas.
“Just frustrated, the best track I’ve ever had,” Creed said. ”We’re all racing hard, this is the playoffs. I think I showed my hand too early.”
There were five cautions for 25 laps, and four lead changes among four different drivers.
Austin Hill led one time for 39 laps and gained five playoff points in addition to his victory. Hill is also locked into the Round of 8 in the Truck Series playoffs.
Playoff Points Standings following Race No. 2 in the Playoffs
- Austin Hill (Advanced to Round of 8 by virtue of victory)
- Sheldon Creed, +52 above the cut line
- Brett Moffitt, +44 above the cut line
- Zane Smith, +39 above the cut line
- Grant Enfinger, +31 above the cut line
- Tyler Ankrum, +15 above the cut line
- Matt Crafton, +15 above the cut line
- Christian Eckes, +6 above the cut line
- Ben Rhodes -6 below the cut line
- Todd Gilliland, -10 below the cut line
Official Results following the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Austin Hill, led 39 laps, earned five playoff points (Playoff driver)
- Sheldon Creed, won both stages, led 89 laps, earned two playoff points (Playoff driver)
- Tanner Gray
- Stewart Friesen
- Chandler Smith
- Grant Enfinger (Playoff driver)
- Zane Smith (Playoff driver)
- Christian Eckes, led five laps, (Playoff driver)
- Matt Crafton (Playoff driver)
- Tyler Ankrum (Playoff driver)
- Johnny Sauter
- Ryan Truex
- Todd Gilliland (Playoff driver)
- Dylan Lupton
- Brett Moffitt, led one lap
- Tate Fogleman
- Tyler Hill
- Conor Daly, 1 lap down
- Spencer Davis, 1 lap down
- Travis Pastrana, 1 lap down
- Clay Greenfield, 1 lap down
- Ben Rhodes, 2 laps down, (Playoff driver)
- Austin Wayne Self, 2 laps down
- Danny Bohn, 2 laps down
- Ray Ciccarelli, 3 laps down
- Chase Purdy, 3 laps down
- Spencer Boyd, 5 laps down
- Josh Reaume, 7 laps down
- Derek Kraus, 9 laps down
- Jesse Iwuji, 19 laps down
- Jordan Anderson, OUT, Track Bar
- Tim Viens, OUT, Too Slow
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, OUT, Oil Tank
- Dawson Cram, OUT, Accident
- Natalie Decker, OUT, Fatigue
Up Next: The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the conclusion of the Round of 10 Truck Series Playoff Saturday October 3 live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio at 1 p.m./ET.