By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After surviving the chaos, Timmy Hill earns the first-ever top-10 finish for Carl Long as either a driver or a team owner. Feel good stories from underdog teams are often a theme at Daytona International Speedway, and the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 was no different.
Hill, an eight-year veteran of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, somehow kept his No. 66 VSI Racing Patriotic / CrashClaimsR.us Toyota Camry out of trouble throughout the night. On the final restart, he was just inside the top-10, battling stars Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Kaz Grala, and Ryan Blaney among others. Despite the chaos and unpredictability of restrictor-plate racing, Hill held his own, taking the checkered flag in seventh.
Twice in the run-up to the finish, Hill had to avoid disaster. Two separate pile-ups, one involving 17 cars on lap 82, and another nine on lap 98 wiped out much of his competition. Hill, in one of the underfunded MBM Motorsports cars, quietly ran towards the back of the pack at the time of both major incidents. As both accidents took place up ahead, he weaved his way through the smoke and debris. Hill’s teammate, Chad Finchum, was involved in three of the four non-Stage Break cautions.
The seventh-place finish is just the third in Hill’s career and ties his best career finish from the 2012 season-opener at Daytona. It is also the first top-10 for the Carl Long-owned team in Series 152 starts. The team’s previous best finish was a 13th-place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when Alon Day nearly stunned the world in the rain, and a ‘zombie-Dodge’ in 2016.
Hill ecstatically Tweeted out a message on his Top-10 finish.
Overwhelmed by all the love and support I received last night and this morning! 7th place is AWESOME for this little team! There are a lot of tough days in this sport, so moments like last night are what I really cherish! Your kind words mean the world to me so thank you so much! pic.twitter.com/c3mBXeOV7w
— Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) July 7, 2018