2021 Austinhill Vegas
Matt Sullivan | Getty Images

Hill looking to recreate Las Vegas success as Trucks return to competition

After an off-week to regroup, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action as the series heads west for Friday night’s Bucked Up 200 (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes comes to Las Vegas having swept the season’s first two races at Daytona Beach, Florida. And he is one of only four current full-time competitors to have won at the 1.5-mile track previously.

RELATED: Las Vegas weekend schedule | Las Vegas paint schemes

In fact, a then 20-year old Rhodes won his career first series race there in 2017 – edging Christopher Bell to the checkered flag by .066 seconds. Rhodes will start on the pole Friday night alongside 2020 series champion Sheldon Creed, runner-up to Rhodes at the last race – Daytona International Speedway’s road-course event.

Creed, who has four top-10 finishes in four Vegas starts – was also the second-place finisher the last time the series raced at the track in September. He led a race-best 89 of the 134 laps but finished second to Austin Hill.

Hill would love to find his 2021 groove this weekend in Vegas, which will be his 100th series start. The Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota driver has won two of the last three races there and is one of only four drivers in history (also Jack Sprague, Mike Skinner and Kyle Busch) with multiple Las Vegas wins. But he has had a slow start to this season and is still looking for his first top-20 finish. He finished 22nd on the Daytona oval and 33rd on the road course.

The Vegas high banks have been a strength for Hill – those two wins are a third of his six-win career total. In the last three races, he has won twice and finished third. He will have his work cut out this weekend with a 31st-place starting position. Busch, the defending race winner at his hometown track, will start 29th.

“We’ve had extremely fast Tundras every time we’ve gone to Las Vegas and have had a ton of success,” Hill said. “This is the same truck that we won with in 2019 and ran third with last spring. Hopefully, we can have a similar result on Friday night. We didn’t get the results we wanted in the first two races at Daytona, but every one of us is looking forward to turning that around this week and hopefully, we can get our Ibaraki Toyopet Toyota into Victory Lane for the first time this season.”