Hill Earns Vegas Win, Sauter/Enfinger Eliminated

Austin Hill is on a trend right now that would net him the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series championship. He won the first race of the season in Daytona. He won the final race of the regular season in Michigan. Hill, now won the third and final race of the opening round when he passed Ross Chastian late and held onto the win in Friday night’s World of Westgate 200 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The win propels Hill to the Round of 6 as he’s now won three times in his No. 16 Toyota this season alone. It was Hill’s fourth straight top 10 finish as he’s really hitting his stride. If he can win the final race of Round 2 (Phoenix) and the final race of the season (Homestead) then the championship will go to Hattori Racing Enterprises for a second straight year.

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Hill bested Chastain by 2.116-seconds on Friday night as Chastian led a race high 88 of 134 laps in his No. 45 Chevrolet. Chastain, won the first two stages as he’s now won five of the last eight stages overall and looked like the clear cut favorite. But, Hill was charging through the field and got by the Watermelon Man with 11 laps remaining to relegate Chastain to runner-up.

It was Chastain’s third top eight finish of the opening round and seventh in the last nine races overall.

Pole sitter Christian Eckes finished third in his No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports for his third top six in his last four starts on the year.

Sheldon Creed finished fourth in his No. 2 Chevrolet for his fifth consecutive top six finishes while Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five in a very eventful race.

See, Brett Moffitt already knew that he was into the next round with him winning the first two races of the first round itself. He’d finish seventh. Chastain’s two stage wins allowed him to accumulate enough points to move on. Hill’s stage points pushed him forward too.

That left three spots available for five drivers.

But, the defending race winner and regular season champion Grant Enfinger developed an engine problem early on and would finish 31st in his No. 98 Ford. His Round 1 finishes were – 5th, 13th and now 31st. It wouldn’t be enough as he was eliminated.

Then, not too long later, Stewart Friesen, another bubble driver, saw his engine go down a cylinder in his No. 52 Chevrolet. Not long after that, Enfinger’s ThorSport Racing teammates of Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter saw both of their engines blow on the exact same lap in the exact same spot of the race track. Crafton, thinks that they both ran over something but it was too much of a coincidence that three of the four ThorSport trucks all blew up through the tri-oval on Friday night.

Sauter’s team tried to make it work but they blew up again as he’d finish 29th. Crafton would wind up 30th. But, due to his seventh and 11th place finishes in the first two races, Crafton was fine. He’d be the fourth driver locked in.

That left Sauter needing help. Friesen was circling the track with a sour engine while Tyler Ankrum was trying to make up 14 points on them. Ankrum, had to finish 12th or better and he was in and Sauter out.

Ankrum, finished 11th.

That meant for the first time since the playoffs were adopted, Sauter won’t race in the Championship 4. Eight of his last nine years he’s finished fourth of better in the final standings.

The series has a couple of weeks off again before returning to action in October at Talladega.

World of Westgate 200 Results

  1. 16 Hill

  2. 45 Chastain

  3. 51 Eckes

  4.  2 Creed R

  5.  4 Gilliland

  6. 30 Poole

  7. 24 Moffitt

  8. 99 Rhodes

  9. 18 Burton R

  10.  5 Lupton

  11. 17 Ankrum R

  12. 15 Alfredo R

  13. 87 Mrakovich

  14.  3 Anderson

  15. 12 Dean R -1

  16.  9 Rohrbaugh -1

  17. 22 Self -1

  18. 11 Davis -1

  19. 52 Friesen -2

  20. 20 Boyd -2

  21. 38 Garrett -3

  22. 44 Ruch -3

  23. 34 Johnson -7

  24. 10 Cobb -44

  25. 54 Decker R OUT

  26. 02 Dippel OUT

  27. 19 Kraus OUT

  28. 33 Massey IV OUT

  29. 13 Sauter OUT

  30. 88 Crafton OUT

  31. 98 Enfinger OUT

  32.  8 Nemechek OUT

#AustinHill #LasVegasMotorSpeedway #NACARGanderOutdoorsTrucksSeries #NASCAR

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