Austin Hill enters Martinsville Speedway with a prime opportunity to secure his first berth into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship finale. The driver of the No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra sits 27 points above the cut line and currently controls the third of four provisional spots to advance to the title round at Phoenix Raceway. Hill has scored two podium finishes in Round 2 of the Gander Trucks playoffs and is focused on securing his best-career finish at 0.526-mile bullring to continue his championship aspirations.
Relentless Efforts Pay Off … Unwavering resilience and relentless efforts in numerous events this season have kept Hill and the AISIN Group team in the thick of the championship battle. Hill scored a runner-up finish on Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway after charging from outside the top-20 with 50 laps remaining. He began Round 2 of the playoffs with a third-place result at Kansas Speedway after suffering significant damage to the left side of his Toyota Tundra and was nearly a lap down in 10th position with three laps to go. Hill and the No. 16 team have exhibited a great deal of character in responding to adverse situations throughout the season and have themselves in prime position to make the championship finale for the second time in team history.
Season to Date … Through 21 races, Hill has been the most efficient driver on the Gander Trucks tour. He has earned nine podium finishes, including two victories at Kansas and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His average finish of 7.6 and average running position of 7.7 tops all series regulars and has 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes to his credit. Hill enters Friday night second in the championship standings, 27 points above the provision cut line and 15 points ahead of third.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team have prepared chassis No. 009 for the last short track event of the season. This Toyota Tundra most recently paced the field for 65 laps at Richmond and finished eighth and tallied a third-place finish at World Wide Technology Raceway in August.
Tune In … Coverage from NASCAR’s shortest track is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 AISIN Group team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and @hattoriracing on Instagram.
Austin Hill Quote:On Friday night’s cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway:“We’ve put ourselves in a good position heading to Martinsville this week with a decent points cushion. This team never gives up or throws in the towel and we’ve been able to get some really solid finishes because of that the last two weeks and have been able to overcome some adversity. We have a good starting position with our AISIN Group Toyota Tundra on Friday night and if we can score some stage points, we’ll really set ourselves up to be in a good position to advance. Scott (Zipadelli) and all the guys on this No. 16 team have done a great job at improving our short track package throughout year and had a truck that was capable of winning at Richmond, so there’s no reason we can’t be in the mix to win that grandfather clock and just punch our own ticket to Phoenix.”