Austin Hill comes to Kansas Speedway with his season back on track after a seventh-place performance a week ago at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the No. 16 TRD 40th Anniversary Toyota Tundra is on the rebound after three weeks of tough luck and rolls into “The Sunflower State” looking to climb the standings. Hill has displayed impressive raw speed at nearly every race this season, including at the 1.5-mile tracks, but hasn’t always had the finishes indicative of the No. 16’s performance. Last week’s effort at Dover was just what the doctor ordered as Hill and his HRE squad are gaining momentum heading to Kansas. He’ll make his second start at Kansas Speedway on Friday night searching for back-to-back top-10 finishes for the third time in his career.
Honoring Officer Sheldon … The No. 16 team will honor the life and service of Mooresville, NC Police Department’s K-9 Officer Jordan Sheldon this week at Kansas. Officer Sheldon was killed last Saturday night in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop near the HRE race shop in Mooresville, NC. Hill’s truck will carry a decal commemorating Officer Sheldon and his K-9 partner Ramon. Officer Sheldon was 32 years old and had served with the Mooresville PD for six years.
Kansas History … Hill’s first trip to Kansas Speedway with crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the No. 16 team will mark his second-career start at Kansas in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His track debut came last season when he turned in a notable effort with Young’s Motorsports by starting ninth and finishing 12th.
Season to Date … The 25-year old Winston, GA native occupies one of the coveted guaranteed positions in the Gander Trucks playoffs due to his season opening victory at Daytona International Speedway. Through six races, Hill has compiled one win, one top-five, and three top-10 finishes. He currently resides in the eighth spot in the Gander Trucks championship standings with ten races remaining in the regular season.
Chassis Selection … Chassis No. 008 will be in action on Friday for the third-consecutive race. Zipadelli and the HRE team feverishly turned this truck around after finishing seventh at Dover International Speedway last Friday. This Toyota Tundra has also raced at LVMS and TMS earlier this season.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s coverage from Kansas kicks off with pole qualifying at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon. Live coverage of the Digital Ally 250 follows at 8:30 p.m. ET. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:On performance at 1.5-mile tracks this season:“I really feel like we can win anywhere we go. Especially this weekend with how fast we’ve been on the mile-and-a-halfs this season. I felt like we had a top-five truck last week, and if we execute everything the right way, I know we’ll be up towards the front and in the mix on Friday at Kansas. I’d love to get our Tundra back in victory lane and celebrate TRD’s 40th Anniversary the right way. I’ve only been to Kansas once last year and we ran pretty decent. I’m really looking forward to getting there this week with Scott (Zipadelli) and these guys and hopefully put a good night together and keep putting points on the board.”