By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Numbers do the talking in NASCAR racing, and Austin Hill is making a lot of noise in 2023.
With a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 from the Indianapolis GP Circuit, Hill notched his fourth top-five run in the season’s six road course events. The number matches the highest in the series with Justin Allgaier.
“We have a top-five program right now,” Hill said of his Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet. “There are things we’ve been working on throughout the season that I didn’t like in the car. We went to a different front-end package just trying to find different things that I like. It seems to be working right now.”
Though his top fives fail to include a victory (Hill has scored four this season all on large ovals), consistency is paying off. The No. 21 driver left Indy with the regular-season point lead, a position that gifts 15 playoff points in four races time.
He entered the weekend tied with John Hunter Nemechek and left 11 points ahead.
“We had a really fast Chevrolet today, we just — everyone just got spread out,” he said. “It took me a little longer to pass the No. 7 [Allgaier] than I would have liked. And at the end, I started fighting rear grip. Still need to go back to the drawing board to try to get better.”
Unfortunately for RCR, the front-end package that suites Hill did not fit the driving style of teammate Sheldon Creed. The No. 2 driver has struggled to reach the success of Hill, scoring no top fives and two top 10s on this year’s road courses.
“For whatever reason, Creed and I go to two totally opposite packages a lot of the weeks, especially on road courses,” he said. “They have a different front-end package than we have and it works for him, but for whatever reason it doesn’t work for me.
“With us having different driving styles, we go our separate ways but we always seem to find each other on the racetrack. We’re always very close together.”