Austin Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota team enter World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) looking to stockpile playoff points for the stretch run to the championship. Hill enters the “Gateway to the West” with seven playoff points in the bank as he leads the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series standings but is striving for more to help fuel his playoff run. The Winston, Ga. native continues to sit atop the championship standings by 41 points and is in ideal position to grab the regular season crown and the 15 playoff points that accompany the honor. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Tundra already has one victory to his credit this season but is hunting a second victory and five extra playoff points to capture the last $50,000 bonus of the Gander RV & Outdoors Triple Truck Challenge.
Streaking Towards the Playoffs … After 13 races of 16 regular season races, Hill has constructed perhaps the most impressive season of any Gander Trucks competitor. Hill broke through for his first win of the year at Kansas Speedway in July and has totaled six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He owns the highest average finish (7.4) of any series regular, which is nearly two positions better than any other driver. His average running position (6.9) and 219 laps led also rank highest among all Gander Trucks regulars. As the tour turns to the St. Louis metro area, Hill has a streak of four finishes of eighth or better in the last five races and has led laps in each of the last five races (117 laps led).
Gateway History … Sunday will mark Hill’s fourth start at WWTR and is looking for his first top-10 result at the 1.25 mill egg-shaped oval. In his first Gateway start with HRE in 2019, Hill equaled his track-best finish of 11th after starting ninth.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and company have prepared chassis No. 009 for its first appearance of the 2020 campaign. This Toyota Tundra is specifically built for short, flat tracks, and was most recently raced at Martinsville Speedway last October and at WWTR last season.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s live coverage from Gateway will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday, followed by the green flag at Noon E.T. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and @hattoriracing on Instagram.
Austin Hill Quote:On approaching the playoffs at Gateway:“We’re in a great spot, for sure. We still have some work to do before the playoffs roll around and we definitely want to keep grabbing those playoff points. It was great to get a stage win last week, but we want to be able to close the deal with our United Rentals Toyota Tundra this weekend at Gateway and really pad our playoff points. We weren’t where we wanted to be with our flat short track program last year, but all the guys at HRE put a lot of effort into that area over the winter. This is our first time out this year on a flatter track with heavy braking, so this will give us a good idea of where we’re at. Gateway is definitely a challenging place. There’s a lot of speed down the straightaways and the corners feel pretty flat once you get there. I’m kind of glad there’s not any PJ1 down this weekend too. I think that might open up some more options rather than hunting the grip in one lane like we were the last couple years there. Track position will still be big, and with the controlled pit stops this weekend, we’ll have to try to make sure our Tundra handles well towards the front right off the bat on Sunday.”