HOMESTEAD, Fla – Austin Hill received some backlash when he replaced the defending NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt with Hattori Racing Enterprises. See, everyone thought that Hill was getting the ride in the No. 16 Toyota because he brought more money than Moffitt.
Luckily, Moffitt would quickly land on his feet with GMS Racing, but until the drop of the green flag of the 2019 season, Hill heard the doubters.
He silenced them with a victory in the season opening race at the Daytona International Speedway. It was Hill’s first career victory. Even with a win to his credit, the new doubt was that Daytona is a superspeedway. What can he do on normal tracks?
Hill, finished seventh in Atlanta, then went three straight races with results outside of the top 15. But, that was short lived. Hill, would win the regular season finale at the Michigan International Speedway, a playoff race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and now the season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
First race of the season, the last race of the regular season and the last race of the overall season, Hill reached victory lane. That’s impressive.
Hill, led a race-high 56 of 134 laps in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 en route to the second straight year that HRE won on the 1.5-mile track and the fourth time that Hill has visited victory lane now. The Georgia native was leaps and bounds better than everyone else including passing Matt Crafton for the lead on Lap 111 and never looking back as he would lead the final 23 laps of the season.
Crafton, would settle for a runner-up in his No. 88 Ford which by virtue of that, he was crowned as the season champion. It’s Crafton’s third career Truck Series title and first top five since a runner-up at Texas in early June.
Christian Eckes finished third in his No. 51 Toyota to give Kyle Busch Motorsports the owners championship. Eckes, has two third place finishes in his last three starts on the season.
Ross Chastain was fourth in his No. 45 Chevrolet while Brett Moffitt rounded out the top five in his No. 24 Chevrolet. The fourth playoff driver in Stewart Friesen faded in the end and would come home 11th.
The race saw just three cautions, two of which for stage breaks.