Timmy Hill celebrates win but knows payback could be coming
Timmy Hill said he had to make the move.
He also knows there could be consequences.
“But that’s in the future,” Hill said. “I’m kind of living in the present and happy to get the win.”
The 27-year-old driver, whose career has been defined by underfunded rides in NASCAR, used a bump-and-run to take the lead from William Byron with nine laps left and win Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway.
MORE: Race results
MORE: What drivers said after iRacing race at virtual Texas
After he crossed the finish line first, Hill said his wife came up the stairs in their home to hug him and give him a cup of milk.
“Downed it right away,” Hill said.
But he likely was going to hold off contacting Byron, who finished seventh after leading a race-high 80 laps in the 130-lap event, extended by overtime.
“This is a very unique situation because, trust me, it feels real,” Hill said after the victory. “I’m sure (Byron) is mad. That’s one of the situations where I think if I call him today, he probably really wouldn’t even want to talk about it. I’ve got to probably give him some time to cool down.
“I may try to reach out to him. He’ll probably still be mad probably for the next coming weeks. Even though this is iRacing, it is virtual, the feelings are real.”
On the etiquette of iRacing and if there might be a payback, Byron tweeted “if he’s in front of me you can be sure of it” followed by a winking emoji.
The situation came about after a caution led to a restart with five laps left to the scheduled distance of 125 laps.
With four laps to the scheduled distance, Byron led with Hill on his rear bumper entering Turn 1.
“I didn’t go into it thinking I had to move William,” Hill said. ”I’m sure as everybody watched the race, Texas, with the way this format is, wide open in (Turns) 3 and 4, barely lift in (Turns) 1 and 2, I think you see drivers get in massive runs.
“The car in front has a couple options. You can try to race the guy heads‑up, side‑by‑side, or block all you can. For me, in the time remaining, when William threw a big block to protect his line, I had the option of either get hit from behind, hope I don’t get hit from behind, or give him a little bump and run and keep going.
“My mindset, had to make a quick split‑second decision, was to go for the win. I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot to get hit from behind or take myself out of it. When William blocked going into Turn 1, kept a low line, protected his position, it left very few options for me in Turn 1. That’s kind of my mindset through it.”
Hill, who has no top-10 finishes in 96 career Cup starts and five top-10 finishes, including a third at Daytona in February, in 188 Xfinity starts, said that he hoped Sunday’s win could help with his underfunded teams when racing returns.
“Some of the best drivers are underrecognized because of the opportunity they’re in,” Hill said. “I’ve made a career personally out of taking cars that were 35th- to 40th-place cars, qualifying 25th. The reason I’ve been able to stay in this sport is because I can take a car and elevate it to a level to make fields, ultimately make a paycheck for teams.
“I wish people would kind of focus back towards that side of the garage, understand the deficits that we’re facing going into a race, because I think a lot of guys are shortchanged, some of their talents. I feel like I’m one of them. I feel like a lot of the guys in the top five (in Sunday’s iRacing race) are in the same boat as I am.
“I’m glad this is kind of showing a little bit of that. I don’t know if it will transfer in real life. I’m glad at least for the last couple weeks and going forward that can kind of showcase that a little bit.”