DOUSPTS-03-21-20 AUSTIN

Winston native Austin Hill is the points leader while NASCAR is on hiatus because of the coronavirus.

Like all professional athletes, Winston native Austin Hill is trying to make good use of his down time.

With the NASCAR season suspended because of the coronavirus threat, Hill is back in North Carolina with his family.

He recently purchased a new home, and the family is trying to get settled in.

Before the suspension of the NASCAR season, Hill was the points leader on the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The suspension came as drivers were unloading their trucks for the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway a week ago.

“I hated for all the teams because we drove down and spent a lot of money,” Hill said. “After all the other sports leagues and schools were cancelling, I thought we would be cancelled. It was tough because we put in a lot of hard work and preparation.”

Hill has been spending time with his family.

“If the cancellation was going to happen, this was a good time,” Hill said. “I’m hoping for the best for everybody. I’ve had time to spend with the family.”

Two races into the season, Hill said he has been pleased at how the season has started. When the racing resumes, he is hoping to get a win to lock down a spot in the playoffs.

A wreck at Martinsville last season cost him a spot in the final round of the playoffs. Ironically, he won the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“All the guys on the team were upset in not getting the championship,” Hill said. “We went down there to prove a point. We knew we should have been celebrating a win and a championship. I was happy and mad at the same time. There were a lot of mixed emotions.”

Hill said the strategy now is to get a win and then earn enough stage points throughout the season to have enough points to advance to the championship.

“We want to get as many stage points as possible,” Hill said. “Obviously we want a win to lock in.”

Hill drove in his first Xfinity Series race a couple weeks ago in California. He is not sure how many more races he will have with NASCAR attempting to make-up races once the season resumes.

“It has been fun to do,” Hill said. “The Xfinity tour will depend what the make-up schedule looks like. I was planning on running a decent amount of races. It is no telling how many now.”