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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Austin Hill Wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Truck Series Round of 6 Set

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What looked to be Ross Chastain’s race to win fizzled away in the closing laps during Friday night’s (Sept. 13) World of Westgate 200 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Instead, Austin Hill passed Chastain to earn his third victory of the season and clinch a spot in the next round of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs.

Hill had stayed out while the rest of the field pitted, but crew chief Scott Zipadelli called the team down under the final caution for fresh tires. The No. 16 Toyota still had the speed to make up lost track position, running down Chastain and passing him with 12 laps remaining.

“This was the hardest one I’ve had to win,” Hill told Fox Sports in victory lane. “We were going to stay out that last caution; we stayed out and everyone else pitted, so we decided we needed to pit or we were going to be screwed. We came down pit road, restarted the tail end of the longest line and it stayed green and I had to drive all the way through the field. This truck was unbelievable.”

I’m wore out, coming from the back like that. It was all I took to get to the lead and we did it.”

Meanwhile, Chastain, who won both stages, took home his eighth top five of the season and third top-10 finish in five races at Las Vegas. Pole sitter Christian Eckes was third, his second top five in six races this year with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Sheldon Creed finished fourth and Todd Gilliland placed fifth, his fourth top-five run of the year.

Brennan Poole was sixth and Brett Moffitt, who was already locked into the next round of the playoffs, came in seventh place. Ben Rhodes, Harrison Burton and Dylan Lupton rounded out the top 10.

The six drivers moving onto the next round of the playoffs are Moffitt, Chastain, Hill, Friesen, Matt Crafton and Tyler Ankrum.

Things took a strange turn from the beginning of this race, as Grant Enfinger had an oil leak and retired. The motor problem cost Enfinger, the regular season champion, a shot at making the Round of 6.

SEGAL: ENGINE WOES PLAGUE THORSPORT RACING

Friesen also had a problem as the team believed they lost a cylinder in the first stage. The team worked to replace plug wires and put its driver back on the track, though he was two laps down.

Later, an odd occurrence to two ThorSport teammates happened around lap 41 when both Crafton and Johnny Sauter’s trucks started smoking and showing fire near the right front at almost the exact same time.

Sauter tried to return to the race, but his truck began smoking again, so he ultimately went to the garage. His playoff hopes went up in smoke along with Enfinger, clearing the way for Ankrum to earn the sixth and final spot.

SEGAL: ANKRUM’S DREAM SEASON CONTINUES

There was another caution for Tyler Dippel‘s motor expiring on lap 82; he ended up in 26th position.

Altogether, there were six caution periods including stage breaks. Five drivers in all retired due to engine failure but 14 trucks remained on the lead lap at the finish.

WORLD OF WESTGATE 200 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

Now, the Truck Series has itself a long break. The first race in the next round of the GOTS playoffs is the Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. The race will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

LUNKENHEIMER: FULL TRUCK SERIES POST-RACE ANALYSIS

NASCAR RACE WEEKEND CENTRAL: LAS VEGAS

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