Just Send It … Austin Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals look to regain momentum and “just send it” on the hallowed dirt grounds of Eldora Speedway. The lone dirt date at “The House Earl Built” comes at a crucial point with just two races remaining before the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs kick off. Hill is eighth in the Gander Trucks standings after 14 events and enters one of the most prestigious races on the calendar focused on climbing the provisional playoff grid.
Qualifying Strength … The last two outings have not yielded the results that Hill and the No. 16 team would like, but their recent qualifying results have been indicative of the group’s outright speed. Hill has won the pole with track record speeds in two of the last three races and has qualified in the top five in three of the last four events when qualifying has been held. This week, Hill will have to navigate heat races on Thursday night to keep the trend alive.
Eldora History … Last year’s Eldora Dirt Derby was Hill’s first trip to “The Big E” and resulted in a 21st-place finish with United Rentals and Young’s Motorsports. Hill raced crate dirt late models growing up in Georgia when he was 15 years old and made sporadic starts in those cars at Senoia Raceway last season in preparation for his Eldora debut a year ago.
Season to Date … As the Gander Trucks regular season winds down, Hill sits eighth in the championship standings and firmly in the playoffs. Through 14 races, Hill has tallied one victory at Daytona International Speedway, two pole awards, three top-five’s, and seven top-10 finishes. With two races remaining in the regular season, Hill is positioned fourth on the provisional playoff grid with five playoff points to date.
Chassis Selection … The Eldora Dirt Derby is the only race this season that crew chief Scott Zipadelli and Hill will utilize chassis No. 006. This Toyota Tundra ran at “The Big E” last season when Brett Moffitt drove it to a fifth-place finish.
Tune In … FOX Sports’ coverage from Eldora begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with heat race action on FS1. The green flag for the 150-lap Eldora Dirt Derby goes green at 9:00 p.m. ET also on FS1. 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 running the only dirt race of the season:“I’m looking forward to it. It’s always fun to do something different and out of the ordinary. Scott (Zipdaelli) and these guys ran great at Eldora last year, and we ran pretty well at Young’s Motorsports too. Hopefully we’ll have a good package on Thursday night with our United Rentals Tundra and get ourselves a good finish in the heat race to start up front. It’s all about searching for moisture with how the track dries out throughout the night and making sure we keep forward drive in the truck. It’ll definitely be physical, and if we can keep ourselves out of the hornet’s nest in the middle of the pack, we should have a pretty good night. We’ve had a little bit of a tough stretch the last few weeks, but we’ve got a great group of guys to turn it around here and get back on track before the playoffs.”