Austin in Austin … For the first time in his career, Austin Hill will take on Austin, Texas’ Circuit of the Americas (COTA) along with the rest of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra enters the inaugural event on the 3.41-mile road course fourth in the championship standings after eight races and eyes his first career road course victory. Hill is also chasing Toyota’s eighth win in the first nine races this season in the backyard of Toyota Motor Manufacturing where Toyota Tundras roll off the production line in nearby San Antonio, Texas.
Even the Purse is Bigger in Texas … “Everything is Bigger in Texas” and that also applies to the paycheck for winning the Camping World Trucks’ second road course race of the season. COTA hosts round two of the “Triple Truck Challenge” and presents Hill and the United Rentals team with an opportunity to win a $50,000 bonus if they’re able to find victory lane on Saturday. Hill is a strong candidate for Saturday’s victory as three of his previous four Camping World Trucks road course starts have resulted in top-10 finishes. He has a pair of fifth-place results, which came at Daytona International Speedway’s road course and at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. A similar run in Austin could put Hill in position claim his first victory of the season and his first win in the state of Texas.
On the Upswing … Hill has gained 19 positions in the point standings over the last six races, and despite a 13th-place finish at Darlington Raceway two weeks ago he has continued his upswing. After five straight top-10 finishes, Hill’s 13th-place result at Darlington was a product of pure resilience after being involved in a multi-truck accident while running third. He has still carried an average finish 6.67 over the last six events and currently holds an 80-point cushion over the playoff cutline.
Chassis Selection … A fresh Toyota Tundra awaits Hill for the Toyota Tundra 225. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team recently built chassis No. 015 specifically for road course racing. Friday’s practice session will be its first laps on-track in advance of its debut on Saturday.
Tune In … FOX Sports has scheduled coverage from COTA for every session of on-track activity this weekend. Friday’s practice session on FOX Sports 1 kicks off the weekend at 3:05 p.m. ET while qualifying airs on FOX Sports 2 Saturday morning at 9:05 a.m. ET. The inaugural green flag for NASCAR at COTA is scheduled to fly at 1:00 p.m. ET on FS1 Saturday afternoon. Stay connected with the No. 16 United Rentals team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:On the series’ debut at COTA:“I have always enjoyed road course racing and we’ve always run well on road courses, so I’m looking forward to Saturday. COTA is a world-class facility and unique racetrack. There are a lot of challenging sections and several really hard braking zones where you’ll probably see a lot of action. It helped to get a look at the track a few weeks ago and we’ll learn a lot during practice too. It’s a nice change of pace to have qualifying this weekend, so hopefully we’ll be able to put our United Rentals Tundra up towards the front and start the race with some track position. We’ll have to manage pit strategy the right way, and I’m sure restarts will be wild the later we get in the race. Hopefully we can execute the way we need to and put our Tundra in victory lane for all the Toyota and United Rentals folks in Texas this weekend.”