Back to Work in the Bluegrass … Austin Hill returns to work in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in the Bluegrass State on Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway. The driver of the No. 16 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra will make his fourth Gander Trucks start in central Kentucky a week and a half removed from a top-five finish at Chicagoland Speedway. Thursday’s contest is part of a pivotal stretch for Hill and the Toyota Tsusho team as only four races remain until the Gander Trucks playoffs begin.
Start Another Streak … Hill is coming off an impressive weekend from start to finish at Chicagoland two weeks ago. The Winston, GA product earned his first-career Gander Trucks pole award by setting a track record and delivered a fifth-place finish, his career best at the northern Illinois venue. Earlier in the season, Hill constructed a streak of four-consecutive top-10 finishes beginning with a seventh-place run at Dover International Speedway and is aiming to begin another this week in Kentucky to propel him into the playoffs. Hill has been strong on the 1.5-mile venues recently and has four-straight top-10 finishes dating back to a fourth-place result at Kansas Speedway in May.
Kentucky History … The 13th event of the Gander Trucks campaign marks Hill’s fourth start in Kentucky as he looks to improve upon his track-best finish of 10th which came in 2017. Hill has run all three Gander Trucks events since Kentucky Speedway was reconfigured and repaved in 2016 and has an average finish of 14.7 in three previous starts with Young’s Motorsports.
Hill’s Season To Date … Through 12 of 16 regular season events, Hill sits seventh in the Gander Trucks driver championship standings. He has a guaranteed spot in playoff field courtesy of his victory at Daytona International Speedway in February. In total, Hill has collected one win, three top-five, seven top-10 finishes, with 95 laps led and one pole award.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the No. 16 squad have prepared chassis No. 008 Thursday’s 225-mile contest. This chassis most recently ran at Iowa Speedway where Hill finished 12th and was run in back-to-back races at Dover and Kansas Speedway which resulted in finishes of seventh and fourth, respectively.
Tune In … FOX Sports will carry coverage of qualifying and the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 on FS1 beginning with pole qualifying at 4:00 p.m. ET. FS1 will follow with the green flag at 7:30 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 returning to a 1.5-mile track and Kentucky Speedway:“I feel like we’ve been the strongest this year at the mile-and-a-half’s. Chicago was one of our team’s best weekends, as a whole, all season. Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys put in a lot of work on our Toyota Tsusho Tundra for this week and I feel like we’ll be pretty good. Texas was a great run for us too last month, and that surface is pretty similar to Kentucky. The playoffs are almost here, so it’d be nice to get on a little bit of a run, keep knocking down some top-five’s and get back to victory lane.”