Austin Hill will look to put an exclamation point in his breakout season behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chiba Toyopet Toyota Tundra in Friday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While Hill and the No. 16 team fell just shy of reaching the final round in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs, the 25-year old and the rest of the Chiba Toyopet team have plenty to prove at HMS. He’ll look to spoil the championship finale and aims to finish the season strong with a fourth visit to victory lane.
Play to Your Strength … The 1.5-mile venues have long been one of the points of strength for crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the No. 16 team. Hill drove through the field to victory at the most recent Gander Trucks event on a 1.5-mile track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September and looks to capitalize once more on the team’s prowess at the intermediate tracks. Over the last six races on 1.5-mile speedways, Hill has tallied two top-five, and five top-10 finishes dating back to Kansas Speedway in May, including his victory in Sin City. Hill and the Chiba Toyopet team are focused on ending 2019 the same way they started the season: In victory lane.
Homestead History … Friday’s finale in Florida will mark Hill’s fourth-career Gander Trucks start at HMS. In three previous appearances, his best finish was a 17th in 2016 when he drove for his family-owned race team. He has one victory on 1.5-mile tracks this season and has notched three top-five and six top-10 finishes at those venues in ’19.
eason to Date … The 2019 season will be remembered as Hill’s coming out party on the Gander Trucks circuit. Hill has recorded three victories, six top-five, 12 top-10 finishes, and three pole awards in 22 races. His first-career victory guaranteed him his first-career berth in the playoffs and is vying for a top-five finish in the championship standings on Friday night.
Chassis Selection … Zipadelli and the HRE team have prepared their best bullet for Hill to race in South Florida. Chassis No. 010 is returning to competition at HMS to put its unblemished record on the line. In two previous starts, Hill has driven this Toyota Tundra to victory lane in both appearances at Michigan International Speedway in August and LVMS earlier in the playoffs.
Tune In … Coverage from HMS gets underway with pole qualifying on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Live coverage of the 200-mile season finale gets underway with NASCAR Raceday at 7:30 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 team on social media by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and @hattoriracing on Instagram.
Austin Hill Quote:On wrapping up a career season at Homestead:“We have a lot to be proud of this season and everything we accomplished as a group. We definitely wanted to be racing for a championship this week, but we’d love to be the ones to be the spoiler and take home another race win and trophy. Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys at HRE did a great job building this Chiba Toyopet Tundra over the summer, and their hard work showed at Michigan and Las Vegas. Hopefully we can have some of the same success this week at Homestead. We’ve had a lot of speed throughout the season, so we want to finish it off the right way and set ourselves up for a good off season to prepare for next year.”