Moments are Bigger in Texas … Austin Hill holds the third position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings after 10 events and has earned a comfortable spot on the provisional playoff grid. The driver of the No. 16 AISIN Toyota Tundra returns to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) looking to seize a big moment and capture his first victory of the season. The 2020 Camping World Trucks regular season champ could cement his place on the playoff grid with a Texas triumph and avenge his close encounter with the checkered flag in the most recent trip to “No Limits, Texas”.
Make Up for Lost Time … In the series’ most recent appearance at TMS, Hill came agonizingly close to his first win in the “Lone Star State” last October. Hill was in the process of taking the lead less than 100 yards from the white flag but the caution flag flew before he hit the stripe and scoring loop to secure a playoff win. The Georgian finished second last fall and has a bevy of impressive runs at TMS that make him one of the prime favorites on Saturday afternoon. Hill has led 35 laps over his last three TMS starts and has three top-10 results deep in the heart of Texas, including his first career top-five in 2018. In four races run at 1.5-mile tracks this season, Hill has been superb by finishing ninth or better in each race, including three podium results. He’ll look to rectify last year’s near-miss with his first victory of the ’21 campaign to reserve a position in the playoffs for himself and the AISIN team.
Season to Date … Saturday’s 220-mile event at TMS marks the official halfway point of the Camping World Trucks season as Hill holds an average finish of 11.3, which has placed him third in the championship standings. After 10 of the 22 scheduled events, Hill has collected three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He most recently competed in the ARCA Menards Series event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the off-week and collected a second-place finish. It was his second runner-up result of the season, after previously finishing second at TMS’ sister track, Atlanta Motor Speedway, in the Camping World Trucks event in mid-March.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the AISIN team prepared chassis No. 010 for Hill to pilot at TMS. He most recently drove this Toyota Tundra to a third-place finish in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). This Tundra was built midway through 2019 and won its first three races at Michigan International Speedway, LVMS, and Homestead-Miami Speedway that season.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s coverage from TMS begins at Noon ET with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag of round 10 of the 2021 season at 1:00 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 16 AISIN team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:On returning to TMS:“We’ve been really solid at Texas over the past couple years and were really close to a win in the playoffs. Scott (Zipadelli) and all the guys at HRE have brought really fast Toyotas to the track every time we’ve gone there. We should have another stout AISIN Tundra this weekend since we had a great run with it at Las Vegas earlier in the year. This weekend will be a little different since we’re racing during the heat of the day and have run mostly night races in the past at Texas. The pavement keeps getting more and more age on it and will definitely be much hotter than what we’ve typically dealt with in the past. I love slick racetracks and I think that’s where our team can really show its strength. We’ve been close to some wins this year, so hopefully we can take advantage of having a fast truck on Saturday.”