Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) lid lifter is a new beginning not just for the series, but also for HRE and driver Austin Hill. The Winston, Ga. native climbs aboard the No. 16 Chiba Toyopet Toyota Tundra fresh off HRE’s championship season in 2018. Hill looks continue the success HRE has enjoyed over its first two full-time NGOTS campaigns. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli returns for his third season at the helm of the No. 16 group and retains his entire championship crew to defend the organization’s landmark feat.
Climbing the Hill … Hill, a graduate of the NASCAR Next program, enters his second full-time NGOTS season overflowing with potential. The 24-year old turned heads in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series when he captured five victories driving for his family owned team in 2013-2015. Hill opened eyes in his first full-time NGOTS season in 2018 with Young’s Motorsport with six top-10 finishes and a career high fifth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in November. Hill’s career is on the ascent and arrives at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on the hunt for his first-career victory.
Daytona History … The NextEra Energy Resources 250 marks Hill’s third-career NGOTS appearance at DIS. Hill’s best finish at the “World Center of Racing” came a year ago with an 11th-place finish. He made his debut at DIS in 2015 and has four superspeedway starts on his resume, with a best finish of 10th at Talladega Superspeedway last season.
Chassis Selection … Zipadelli and the No. 16 team have prepared chassis No. 002 for Hill’s debut with HRE. This chassis is specialized for superspeedway racing and most recently saw action at Talladega Superspeedway in October. This Toyota Tundra also raced at DIS in 2018 with Brett Moffitt at the controls.
Tune In … FOX Sports’ live coverage of NGOTS Speedweeks begins on Thursday afternoon on FS2 with two practice sessions at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. ET. Two rounds of pole qualifying set the field on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1 followed by the first green flag of 2019 at 7:30 p.m. ET, also on FS1. Fans can follow Hill and HRE on social media by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and hattoriracing on Instagram for updates throughout Speedweeks and 2019.
Austin Hill Quote:On kicking off his first season with HRE:“We’ve been in the shop for a long time so I’m glad we finally get to go to the track this week. This is a close, tight knit bunch of guys and I can’t wait to get into practice on Thursday and start working. I’ve had some decent success at the superspeedways, and I know Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys worked hard to put a strong Chiba Toyopet Tundra together. I feel like we’ll have a pretty good piece that we can contend with on Friday night. It’s all about avoiding the chaos and making it to the end of these superspeedway races. It’s easier said than done, but hopefully we can do that on Friday and be in the mix when the pay window opens.”