The Hattori Racing Enterprises team makes their return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) on Friday at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) with Austin Hill piloting the No. 61 AISIN Group Toyota Supra. Hill has 63 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts on his resume, which is highlighted by his victory at DIS in February and will make his NXS debut this weekend. HRE and team owner Shige Hattori have nine previous starts in the NXS with four different drivers, but will debut the Toyota Supra to the team’s program at DIS.
Looking for the Broom … The Winston, GA native returns to the site of the biggest moment in his career for the first time since his landmark victory at DIS in the Gander Trucks opener in February. Hill led a race-high 39 laps amid fuel concerns in the late stages and endured the pressure of two overtime restarts. He’ll look to grab the broom for a sweep of his two DIS starts this season between the Gander Trucks and NXS.
Daytona History … Hill has made three starts at DIS in his Gander Trucks career. He made his debut at “The World Center of Racing” in 2015 and has collected two finishes of 11th or better. The 25-year old also competed in the 2014 running of the “Battle at the Beach” on the temporary backstretch short track in the K&N Pro Series and finished second.
Hill’s Season to Date … With 12 of 23 races completed in the Gander Trucks season, Hill is currently seventh in the season standings and has one of the coveted reserved spots in the playoffs. He has collected three top-five finishes, including a fifth-place run last Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, and seven top-10 finishes.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and Hill’s team from the No. 16 truck prepared chassis No. 146. This Toyota Supra was previously used at Joe Gibbs Racing and has been completely refreshed for Hill’s NXS debut.
Tune In … Every lap of NXS action from “The World Center of Racing” will be live on NBC Sports Network. Coverage beings on Thursday with two practice sessions at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying will set the field on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET followed by the green flag of Hill’s NXS debut at 7:30 p.m.ET. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 61 team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:On making his Xfinity Series debut:“I can’t wait to get in the car. Until it happens, you’re never for sure if you’ll get an opportunity at the next level, so I’m ready to go. The Supra looks awesome. This is a big deal for our team. All thanks goes to Shige and AISIN Group for putting this deal together. We have some good memories from winning at Daytona earlier this year in the truck, so maybe we can do it again. We have our entire team from the No. 16 truck along this week and they built a great piece, so we’re certainly going to give it a shot.”