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Why Did Austin Hill Return to RCR, Or Is the Better Question Why Not?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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The next NASCAR Silly Season domino fell on Thursday night as Austin Hill signed a multi-year extension with Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series. The move was seen as a surprise to some who saw him as a fit elsewhere at places like Kaulig Racing. What was it that made Austin Hill stay at Richard Childress Racing?

The Benefits of Staying at RCR.

As the article title suggests, the better question to ask about Austin Hill may be, why not stay at RCR? Sure, there is not an immediate Cup Series opening for him at the company, but, he is having some really good success at the team currently.

It is important to remember that Hill is not as young as many drivers in the Xfinity Series. He did not run his first full-time NASCAR National Touring Series season until he was 24, and he is 29 now running his best Xfinity Season.

He is winning, and he is comfortable. Why would he not want to stay at Richard Childress Racing?

It may be easy to say on the outside that someone who is winning in Xfinity is going to make the jump to Cup at any chance they get, but that is not always the case. It is not always better for a driver higher up the ladder.

A great example of this is Justin Allgaier. Allgaier ran two full-time seasons in Cup in 2014 and 2015 after some solid seasons in Xfinity. He struggled, and he has since become a career Xfinity Series driver competing for wins and coming close to championships.

John Hunter Nemechek spent a season in Cup for Front Row Motorsports before jumping back down to Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series. As a result, he has worked his way back up to Xfinity with Joe Gibbs Racing, and his future is brighter than ever.

Sometimes, it is okay to stay in Xfinity with a team you are having success with either for a while or permanently. This does not completely close the door on Hill running in the Cup Series full-time at some point in the future, but he is going to be with RCR for the foreseeable future. The other reality for Hill is, what other options did he really have?

What Other Options Did He REALLY Have?

The current open seats available in the NASCAR Cup Series are not exactly the most ideal scenarios. There was Kaulig Racing, which many people theorized Hill would be the guy to replace Justin Haley.

However, Kaulig is a mid-pack team at the moment. They could develop into a consistent race-winning threat in the future, but, that does not seem to be imminent. Scarily enough, Kaulig has been pretty stagnant this season as neither driver is in the Playoffs or really in close contention on points.

There are the potential openings of Aric Almirola’s seat at Stewart-Haas Racing or Ty Dillon at Spire, but, those seats are not officially open yet. Those cars also have not performed well this season.

The only top-level seat that could open up is Denny Hamlin’s seat at Joe Gibbs Racing. Even then, that contract situation is still likely to end up being resolved relatively soon, so that seat is likely not really open. Even if it does open up, Gibbs has in-house options he would likely go to over Hamlin.

Would Hill rather join a B-tier or rebuilding Cup Series team, or stay at Richard Childress Racing where he can win races? When looking at all of the things surrounding this, it makes total sense why Hill would want to stay at RCR. With all of the success that he has had there, why not?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts