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Austin Hill takes wild Michigan Truck win as playoff field set

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Austin Hill takes wild Michigan Truck win as playoff field set
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Aug 10, 2019, 7:27 PM

Austin Hill finished the 2019 Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series regular season the same place he started it – in Victory Lane.

Race Winner Austin Hill, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Race Winner Austin Hill, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Race Winner Austin Hill, Hattori Racing Enterprises

Hill held off Sheldon Creed – who needed a win to make the playoffs – in overtime to win Saturday’s Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

Hill had started the season with a victory at Daytona but had struggled of late, including a last-place finish last week at Eldora. 

“Oh man, this is huge,” Hill said. “We’ve had a struggle these last four or five races. We just kept having issues and can’t finish the races. Man, these guys have worked their tails off day and night trying to put these trucks together.

“This is actually a brand new truck, first time it has seen the race track was yesterday. We unloaded and we had to work out some bugs on it but we got driving really good. I was really happy with the speed in it.

“This race was crazy. I had to come from the back a few times. I had a speeding penalty one time and I kind of thought our race was done but, man, we came back up through the field.”

Tyler Dippel finished third, Austin Wayne Self was fourth and Brett Moffitt completed the top-five.

Grant Enfinger earned the regular season championship and claimed the 15 bonus playoff points as the playoffs open Thursday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Joining Enfinger and Hill in the eight-driver playoff field are Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Ross Chastain, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Tyler Ankrum.

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On Lap 66 of the scheduled 100, Codie Rohrbaugh spun off Turn 4 to bring out a caution. A handful of teams pit but Todd Gilliland stayed out and remained in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 70.

With 26 laps to go in the race, Ben Rhodes powered around Gilliland to take the lead. One lap later, Harrison Burton got the front for the first time in the race as Ankrum moved into second.

On Lap 78, Hill was able to take the lead for the first time. Ankrum was second followed by Crafton.

Christian Eckes spun between Turns 1 and 2, which brought out another caution. On the restart with 10 laps to go, Hill remained in the lead, followed by Ankrum, Crafton, Moffitt and Creed.

Eckes spun again on Lap 94 – the third time in the race – to put the race back under caution just after Ankrum had got around Hill for the lead.

When the race returned to green on Lap 97, Ankrum led followed by Hill, Moffitt, Crafton and Dippel.

On the restart Ankrum got turned by Crafton which triggered a multi-truck accident that also included Natalie Decker, Gilliland, Jordan Anderson and Anthony Alfredo. Hill was the leader when the caution was displayed.

 

When the race returned to green in overtime, Hill led the way followed by Moffitt, Crafton, Burton and Dippel.

Stage 2

Moffitt went three-wide with three laps remaining in the stage to grab the lead and held on for the Stage 2 victory.

Hill ended up second, Enfinger third, Anderson fourth and Rhodes completed the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, chaos erupted on pit road as Sauter got into Rohrbaugh, sending him into Stage 1 winner Chastain, causing significant damage and forcing him to the garage.

 

“It was gut-wrenching for sure,” Chastain said. “We had perfect execution. It’s tough to lose a race with a truck like we had today.”

In addition, Gilliland was forced to restart from the rear of the field for a having a crew member over the wall too soon.

When the race returned to green on Lap 28, Rhodes led the way followed by Moffitt and Eckes.

With 10 laps remaining in the second stage, Rhodes and Enfinger were dueling for the lead with Burton having moved up to third.

On Lap 32, Friesen suffered a flat tire and was forced to put under green.

On Lap 33, Eckes spun off Turn 2 to bring out a caution. He had a flat tire but no damage to his truck. Several drivers elected to pit under the caution but Enfinger remained on the track and inherited the lead.

When the race restarted with four laps to go in the stage, Enfinger led the way followed by Moffitt and Anderson.

Stage 1 

Chastain held off a fast-approaching Rhodes to take the Stage 1 victory, his third stage win of the 2019 season.

Eckes was third, Moffitt fourth and Gilliland completed the top-five.

When the race got underway, Ankrum and Self were both black-flagged by NASCAR for getting out of line at the start of the race before taking the green flag.

Chastain, who started on the pole, held the lead early as Gilliland moved into the second position on Lap 3.

After five laps, Chastain maintained a small lead over Gilliland with Rhodes running in third.

With 10 laps remaining in the first stage, Rhodes had moved into the second position as Gilliland dropped to third, Eckes was fourth and Enfinger fifth.

After 15 laps, Rhodes was trying to challenge Chastain for the lead as Eckes moved into third. Crafton, who started from the rear of the field, had moved into the top-10.

Crafton (engine change) and Norm Benning (unapproved adjustments) had to start the race from the rear of the field.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Laps Led
1 16 United States Austin Hill  Toyota 105   26
2 2 United States Sheldon Creed  Chevrolet 105 0.125 9
3 02 United States Tyler Dippel  Chevrolet 105 0.424  
4 24 United States Brett Moffitt  Chevrolet 105 1.187 9
5 22 United States Austin Wayne Self  Chevrolet 105 1.343  
6 44 United States Bayley Currey  Chevrolet 105 1.344  
7 98 United States Grant Enfinger  Ford 105 1.471 3
8 52 United States Stewart Friesen  Chevrolet 105 1.668  
9 49 United States Ray Ciccarelli  Chevrolet 105 1.807  
10 88 United States Matt Crafton  Ford 105 1.839  
11 18 United States Harrison Burton  Toyota 105 1.923 2
12 13 United States Johnny Sauter  Ford 105 1.977  
13 12 United States Gus Dean  Chevrolet 105 2.181  
14 3 United States Jordan Anderson  Chevrolet 105 2.527  
15 51 United States Christian Eckes  Toyota 105 2.992  
16 14 United States Trey Hutchens  Chevrolet 105 3.367  
17 9 Codie Rohrbaugh  Chevrolet 105 3.798  
18 33 United States Josh Reaume  Toyota 105 5.739  
19 10 United States Jennifer Jo Cobb  Chevrolet 105 6.403  
20 8 United States Joe Nemechek  Chevrolet 105 7.504  
21 34 United States Jesse Iwuji  Chevrolet 105 8.618  
22 20 United States Spencer Boyd  Chevrolet 105 8.901  
23 99 United States Ben Rhodes  Ford 103 2 laps 15
24 4 United States Todd Gilliland  Toyota 98 7 laps 14
25 17 Tyler Ankrum  Toyota 96 9 laps 3
26 15 Anthony Alfredo  Toyota 96 9 laps  
27 54 United States Natalie Decker  Toyota 96 9 laps  
28 04 Cory Roper  Ford 58 47 laps  
29 38 United States T.J. Bell  Chevrolet 41 64 laps 1
30 45 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 26 79 laps 23
31 87 United States Camden Murphy  Chevrolet 11 94 laps  
32 6 United States Norm Benning  Chevrolet   105 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR Truck
Event Michigan
Author Jim Utter