Whenever NASCAR goes superspeedway racing — four weekends per year — you know there’s going to be some wild stats following the conclusion of every race. After the opening weekend of 2020, this still stands true.
Underdogs came to play in both the Truck and Xfinity national touring series this past weekend. Not a shocker whatsoever, though many drivers earned career-best finishes.
Over the course of his now lengthy NASCAR career, Timmy Hill has proven time after time that he can run anything around a superspeedway track and manage a good finish. Saturday’s (Feb. 15) Xfinity Series race was no different.
Hill began the race from 26th position, and that was after an adventurous morning for MBM Motorsports. Prior to qualifying, NASCAR found improper body modifications with body filler on the nose of the No. 66 Toyota. Hill’s crew chief, Sebastian LaForge was suspended for six weeks, fined $50,000 and docked 75 points. The team will not appeal.
Meanwhile, once the race began, Hill charged to the front, spending most of the day between 15th and 20th position. When the pay window opened, the No. 66 car dodged three big wrecks en route to a career-best third-place finish. The finish was also a best in MBM history (329 starts).
“For me, personally, getting that third is really special to continue building on my career,” Hill said after the race. “I don’t want to be known as the guy who finished fifth, I want to get some wins one day.”
I feel like I have been living a dream! 3rd place XFINITY Series finish for our VSI Racing / @RoofClaimUS Toyota Supra! Thank you to the Contarinos and @MBMMotorsports for giving me fast hot rods! Tomorrow I start my first #DAYTONA500 and I can’t wait!
— Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) February 15, 2020
Hill wasn’t the only driver to score his best career finish, as Ray Black Jr. earned his first top 10 (eighth) in 99 Xfinity starts.
Even more crazy than the Xfinity finishing order was the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series rundown, with many drivers posting career results.
At the end, Jordan Anderson finished a career-best second, losing by a fender to Grant Enfinger. Codie Rohrbaugh posted a best finish of third, as did Derek Kraus in fourth. However, Natalie Decker surprised many people with her fifth-place finish, which is the best finish for a female in Truck history.
Why was Decker’s fifth such a surprise? For much of her rookie season in Trucks, she was a laughingstock in the series if you looked on Twitter, because she was constantly getting involved in someone else’s accident. Though some incidents were self-inflicted, many were not, thus leading to eight DNFs in 19 starts one season ago.
But in her first race out for Niece Motorsports, Decker stayed out of trouble and was around for the finish, something she desperately needs to work on in her sophomore season. Her fifth at Daytona edged out Jennifer Jo Cobb (Daytona 2011) for the best finish by a woman in Truck history, and was only one position behind Danica Patrick (Xfinity, Las Vegas 2011) for the best finish all-time by a female.
— Jennifer Jo Cobb (@JenJoCobb) February 15, 2020