There is no hotter driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entering the playoffs than Austin Hill. The driver of the No. 16 AISIN Toyota Tundra comes to World Wide Technology Raceway (WWT Raceway) for the opening round of the playoffs coming off consecutive victories for the first time in his 112-race Camping World Trucks career. Victories on dirt at Knoxville Raceway and on the Watkins Glen International (WGI) road course, coupled with the third-best average finish in the series (8.9), have Hill and the HRE team confident they can win on any given weekend, including on Friday night in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.
Prime Playoff Performer … Since his playoff debut in 2019 during his first season with HRE, Hill has been one of the prime playoff performers. Three of his eight career victories have come during the seven-race playoff, two at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2019, 2020) and one at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2019). Hill is primed for another stout playoff run as he brings a streak of three straight top-five finishes and seven straight top-10 finishes to “Gateway”. While the Winston, Ga. native is aiming for his first berth into the Championship Four, replicating a podium finish from last season at WWT Raceway would be a significant boost to his championship aspirations.
Season to Date … Hill begins the playoffs second in the championship standings thanks to his remarkable performance at WGI one race ago. Hill’s first road course victory and stage win of ’21 earned him six additional playoff points along with finishing second in the regular season point standings. The performance at “The Glen” allowed Hill to begin the playoffs at WWT Raceway with 21 playoff points and 27 markers above the cutline. In the 15 regular season events, Hill compiled two wins, seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the AISIN team have prepared chassis No. 014 for the first playoff race in WWT Raceway’s history. This Toyota Tundra most recently competed at Richmond Raceway in April when Hill drove to a 10th-place finish after recovering from a speeding penalty early in the event. Chassis No. 014 debuted last season at Phoenix Raceway when it finished 12th.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s coverage from the opening round of the Camping World Trucks playoffs begins at 8:00 p.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag at 9:00 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 starting his third career playoff appearance at Gateway:“I’m ready to get going. I always look forward to the challenge of the playoffs and I think we have two really solid tracks to start this round. We made a lot of gains at Gateway last season and finished third, so I think we can improve on that this weekend with our AISIN Toyota Tundra.”
“I just think that us winning these two races just builds our team’s confidence going forward, because before we won at the dirt track, before we won at the road course, we had only won at mile-and-a-half’s together. We’re kind of getting outside that bubble that we were in. We’re winning at these different types of racetracks. Now we feel like we can go to the racetrack and win anywhere we go. I think that builds the confidence even more going into these playoffs that we feel like we can get the job done no matter where we’re at.”