By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the toughest short tracks on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. For Quin Houff, the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol was the perfect place to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut.
Houff has two wins in the CARS Super Late Model Tour and finished fourth in the championship points standings in 2015, his rookie season. He also participated in the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program.
In the first and only practice session of the weekend, Houff was 31st fastest in the No. 46 beatincancerwithduke.org Chevrolet Camaro for Precision Performance Motorsports.
In qualifying, the 19-year-old driver turned heads. In the first round, Houff placed his Chevrolet on top of the boards for the majority of the session. Eventually, Houff slid down the charts. After being bumped out of the Top 24, he improved his speed enough to make Top 24 and the second round. Houff ended up 21st on the starting grid.
From the drop of the green flag, Houff moved forward. Stage 1 was quiet, but quick. By the end of the stage, he was one lap down, just outside the Top 10.
Houff quietly moved forward when the race returned to green flag action. Passing cars high and low, he moved just inside the Top 10 before rain forced a lengthy red flag. The caution for the red flag gave Houff the lucky dog, allowing him to return to the lead lap.
After pit stops, Houff was just outside the Top 10 when the race restarted for the end of Stage 2. He moved forward, but was unable to break back into the Top 10 before the green and checkered flag waved.
In the final stage of the race, a long green flag run, typical of Bristol, ensued. Eventually, Houff fell one lap down. He was unfazed as he fought to stay in the lucky dog position. Houff’s persistence payed off as he received the lucky dog on the next caution with 80 laps to go.
Houff moved forward, hovering just outside the Top 10 for the next 50 laps. With 30 laps to go, Ross Chastain cut a tire and slammed the outside wall. Houff suffered minor damage after clipping Chastain’s No. 4 GK Services Chevrolet Camaro. Houff’s team was easily able to make repairs, even with the five-minute repair clock.
The pit stops cost Houff track position that he was unable to regain. When the checkered flag waved, he was in 15th and still on the lead lap.
Houff took to Twitter to thank Xfinity and his team for the opportunity to race:
— Quin Houff (@P1_Houff) April 22, 2017
Not only was this Houff’s first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race, but it was also Precision Performance Motorsports’ second start of the season.
Now Houff will look to parlay this performance into future opportunities.