By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
BRISTOL, Tenn. – A collaboration between MBM Motorsports and Hattori Racing Enterprises nets Timmy Hill a top-10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver found himself inside the top-10 late in the Food City 300. However, Hill was not driving a car owned solely by his regular team owner, Carl Long. In an alliance that came together earlier in the week, the Port Tobacco, MD native was in a car prepped by Shige Hattori’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series team.
“This collaboration came together this week and it couldn’t have kicked off better than it did,” Hill explained. “These guys worked well together. It allowed us to compare notes and get a better idea of each other’s mindset. We had more tires for this race thanks to Toyota Tsusho.”
Hill’s No. 61 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Supra bounced on and off the lead lap throughout the final stage. Surviving the high attrition rate, the collaborative effort saw the No. 61 creep up the running order. By the time the checkered flag wave, Hill found himself in seventh.
The seventh-place finish matched Hill’s best career finish and left him excited post-race.
“Like you said this is my best finish other than a superspeedway. Seventh matches my best. Bristol has always been a great track for me and I’m glad we could put on a great finish here. MBM (Motorsports) and HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises) came in collaboration for this race. I’m glad to have Toyota Tsusho on board with us.
“They gave me a great Supra. One that I could have a lot of fun with. Bristol is one of those tracks where you just have to keep your fenders clean, which we were able to do all night. I didn’t make any mistakes. I’m happy for these guys because they gave me a fun car to drive and we came home with a great finish.”
The pace that Hill had throughout the night was dramatically better than his MBM Motorsports teammates. Joey Gase ended up 20th while Tommy Joe Martins fell out with transmission problems after climbing to 10th. Chad Finchum failed to qualify.
The improved pace allowed Hill to compete with drivers and teams he typically doesn’t have a chance to at non-superspeedway tracks. He spent much of the race battling Michael Annett and Austin Cindric among others.
“This week was a good driving car,” Hill admitted. “Most of the time when you get things driving good in the corners, you can make up a lot of time. I found myself running with bigger teams that normally we can’t run with. The collaboration worked well and gave me a better effort this weekend.”
The last time Hill earned a top-10 finish was at Daytona International Speedway last season. It is just the fourth top-10 in his career and first on a non-superspeedway track.
The seventh-place finish is just the second top-10 for Long. The finish matches the best finish by an MBM Motorsports team.
For the future of the collaboration, Hill admitted it’s still unknown.
“Hopefully we can put our heads together after tonight and see what we can come up with.”