Hillier Finishes 11th in Princeton Nationals PRINCETON, MN (October 6) -- There's something about racing on quarter-mile tracks that brings out the best in Chad Hillier. The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender tied ...
Hillier Finishes 11th in Princeton Nationals
PRINCETON, MN (October 6) -- There's something about racing on quarter-mile tracks that brings out the best in Chad Hillier.
The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender tied his second-best finish in a World of Outlaws "A" Feature Saturday when he drove the #5c DIRT Inc. Maxim into 11th place in the Polydome Princeton Nationals. Hillier's second 11th-place finish of the season pushed him to within 14 points of fellow rookie Sam Hafertepe Jr. for 19th place in the World of Outlaws point standings.
"I think you just have a little more room for error and you can pick it back up (on quarter-miles)," Chad said modestly. "If you make a mistake on a half-mile, you lose three or four car-lengths and it's really hard to get it back. On quarter-miles, you can 'cowboy it up' and get after it, plus it's more of what I'm used to. For whatever reason, we've been better on smaller tracks.
"The motor ran great, the guys worked hard and, once we got something we ran decent with, we didn't change it much. It was a good night."
Hillier, the only drive to win championships in all three sprint car divisions at Skagit Speedway's 3/10-mile oval, was the second-fastest driver in Saturday's hot-lap session. He was only .04 seconds off Joey Saldana's pace. Hillier recorded a similar time in the qualifying session and tied Chad Blonde for the seventh-fastest lap.
"We were good in hot laps, so we didn't change much for qualifying," Chad said. "Our first lap was a little iffy, but we drove the car where we needed to be on the second lap and got a good starting position for the heat race."
Hillier started inside the second row in the Fourth Heat Race and passed 1995 Rookie of the Year Randy Hannagan on his way to a runner-up run and a spot in the Crane Cams Dash.
"We got going good in the heat after qualifying well and held our own in the dash," said Chad, who finished fourth in the eight-lap race). "We hadn't done that since Paducah (on April 6th when he set fast-time and ran sixth in the dash). It's not that similar to Paducah, but they're both high-banked. It's a fun, little place to race."
Hillier passed World of Outlaws points leader and eventual Polydome Princeton Nationals winner Donny Schatz during the opening lap and held him off for eight laps. He battled series veterans Jac Haudenschild and Steve Kinser throughout the second half of the 40-lap main event.
"The track got a little rougher in the feature than we expected," Chad said. "We didn't have the car set up for that, but we had a good night. We had a good start in the feature; we were really good. If could have maintained a little better, we could have moved up and had a better finish. We just started getting tight and, when I moved up, cars started getting under me. I had to move down off the cushion a little bit because it was rolling up on the right front. I moved down, but we were just too tight to run the bottom. The track was changing and a lot of guys were running the bottom, so you had to move down there. You had to run where the track was cleaned off. If you got out in the sand, it would slip the tires more. I was hoping it would stay green a little longer because guys would sneak under us on the restarts. We were holding our own until we starting having restart after restart. We were racing with really good cars up front."