Race two of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series playoffs provides an opportunity for Austin Hill and the HRE team to display their resilience. The driver of the No. 16 Weins Canada Toyota Tundra enters Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) holding the eighth and final transfer position in the championship standings, two points above the cut line after a 25th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). Hill and the No. 16 team led by crew chief Scott Zipadelli have exhibited remarkable relentlessness throughout the season, including driving from 15th to finish third at World Wide Technology Raceway and moving from 11th to finish third at Darlington Raceway on an overtime restart. They’ll look for another strong response at LVMS to solidify their chance to advance out of Round 1 on Friday night.
In His Wheelhouse … There may not be a better track than LVMS for Hill to deliver a bounce-back performance. The Winston, Ga. native scored a third-place finish at LVMS in February and led 29 laps en route to victory in Sin City last September. In the eight races on 1.5-mile venues in 2020, Hill has recorded one win, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. An engine issue at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) is his only finish worse than ninth on 1.5-milers and has led 175 laps in five different races at those venues. Four of Hill’s five career Gander Trucks victories have come on 1.5-mile tracks and a sixth career win would automatically advance him into the second round of the playoffs.
What Happens in Vegas … What happens in Vegas will have a significant impact on Hill’s championship pursuit, and his recent track record forecasts a strong outing for the Weins Canada team. Hill has scored a third and a victory in his last two trips to LVMS and has three top-10’s in five Gander Trucks starts.
Chassis Selection … Zipadelli and the Weins Canada team have prepared chassis No. 011 for the second time this season. Hill debuted this Toyota Tundra at TMS in July, but was credited with a 30th-place finish after being plagued with an engine issue.
Tune In … The second race of the Gander Trucks’ playoffs will be carried live on FOX Sports 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET with coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 Weins Canada team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and @hattoriracing on Instagram.
Austin Hill Quote:On his expectations for Las Vegas:“Las Vegas has been a great place for our race team, as well as all the other mile-and-a-half’s. Even last year’s spring race when we had an overheating issue, we were really good and had speed. It was great to get the win last fall after fighting some issues during the night and I think we can do it again on Friday. Scott (Zipadelli) and all the guys at HRE have a great package for these intermediate tracks and I think we’ll have a really good Weins Canada Toyota Tundra when the green flag drops. We gave up some points last week at Bristol, but you’ll have some setbacks like that during the playoffs. It’s just a matter of how you respond and fight back from those issues. I truly feel like this is the best team in the garage and we can come back from anything. We’re all really motivated to get back to the track and have a big night at Las Vegas.”