By: Ashley McCubbin
After winning the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week, Austin Hill was asked to assess his championship chances and team against the competition. The answer from him was simple.
“I think we’re the best there is out there right now,” he told POPULAR SPEED.
Citing his consistency, the statistics back up the claims made from the Toyota Racing driver in scoring two wins, nine top-five’s and 15 top-10’s in 17 races this season. With an average finish of 7.6, he has only placed outside of the the top-eight once in the past seven events.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be without competition, as he even noted that GMS Racing has been really consistent and is “going to be a big player in this.” It also doesn’t hurt that they currently have three drivers in contention for the championship – Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed, and Tyler Ankrum. Moffitt has been the most consistent with 12 top-10’s and no wins, while Creed has won three races to go with nine top-10’s.
There’s also a possible kink in Hill’s armor, as evident with his struggles on the short tracks this season. He fought to run in the back half of the top-10 at Bristol Motor Speedway, before issues relegated him to a 25th-place finish. With two more coming in the form of Martinsville Speedway and the championship finale at Phoenix Raceway, he knows they have work to do.
“I think we’ve gotten better on our short tracks,” he commented. “With Phoenix being a short track, we’re working really hard on our package and set-up to be good at Phoenix and Martinsville for that matter, and I think Richmond was a really good test for us. We were good at Richmond; it just didn’t work out for us. We decided not to take tires when a lot of guys did and it ended up going green the rest of the way and we weren’t expecting that. We had had really good speed at Richmond, and I think we’ll have really good speed at these other short tracks.”
This weekend, though, that is not on his mind as the goals are simple entering Talladega Superspeedway – score another victory.
“That’s just our motto, we want to win every race we can,” he explained. “When we go there, we’re there to win the race. It’s going to be one of those things, I’m going to be really aggressive like I’ve been all year and I think that even if we were on the cut line and we were only a couple points ahead before going in, without the win, I still wouldn’t change anything I’ve been doing. As soon as you start changing stuff that you do, that’s when bad things can happen.
“You have to just keep doing what you’re doing and not changing anything and just stay true to yourself. Just do everything that has got you here and got you to this point. Whenever you start over thinking things and start trying different things, that’s when trouble can happen and you can end up with a wrecked race car or a finish that you didn’t deserve and you wanted to finish better. We just have to keep our foot down and keep digging.”