Time Running Thin … Time is beginning to wane in the chase for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner points championship as Austin Hill returns to Martinsville Speedway for the United Rentals 200. The Winston, Ga. driver is looking to go back-to-back in United Rentals’ titled events as he took home the hardware in the United Rentals 176 at Watkins Glen International (WGI) earlier this season. Hill and the No. 16 team sit fifth in the owners’ point standings heading into the penultimate race of the season at the “Paperclip”, just three markers out of the fourth and final transfer spot into the championship finale. Hill looks to close out his tenure in the No. 16 Toyota Tundra by delivering the first grandfather clock and second owners’ championship to HRE.
Time for a Breakthrough … The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra has been victorious on nearly every style of racetrack in his three-year term at HRE but is still eyeing a win on a paved short track. Hill and the United Rentals team are prepared to buck the goose egg from the stat column on Saturday afternoon and secure the team’s first grandfather clock trophy. The No. 16 team has shown the fortitude to achieve breakthrough wins as Hill and company earned victories at Knoxville Raceway and WGI, which marked the first triumphs on dirt track and a road course for HRE. Hill ran the opening segment of last year’s race at Martinsville Speedway in the top five until succumbing to engine issues shortly past halfway.
Season to Date … Through 20 of the 22 scheduled events, Hill sits fifth in the owners’ championship standings and 10th in the driver point standings. Two wins, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes have Hill in contention to punch his team’s ticket to the owners’ points Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway. The Winston, Ga. driver is still searching for his first career top-five and top-10 result at the 0.526-mile bullring and hopes that the result comes this weekend to launch him into the owners’ finale at Phoenix.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE squad have prepared chassis No. 009 for their return to the shortest paved track on the circuit. This Toyota Tundra is making its season debut on Saturday and most recently appeared at Martinsville last season. Prior to its appearance at Martinsville last fall, Hill led 65 laps and finished eighth at Richmond in September 2020 in chassis No. 009, and earned a third-place result at World Wide Technology Raceway last August.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 will carry live coverage from Martinsville for the penultimate race of the Camping World Trucks season on Saturday, beginning with NASCAR Raceday at Noon ET followed by the United Rentals 200 green flag at 1:00 p.m. ET. 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 pursuing his first paved short track win at Martinsville:“Martinsville has been a challenge for us the past few years. We’ve improved our short track performance quite a bit and had a fast Tundra last year before we had engine issues. It’d be really satisfying to get a grandfather clock and park our United Rentals Toyota Tundra in victory lane in the United Rentals 200. That was a big deal to all the folks at United Rentals in Watkins Glen, and I know we’re going to have quite a few of them with us again on Saturday. Martinsville is a tough place to race though. The current engine package has made it a lot harder to pass. The field is a lot more equal and if you lose track position, there isn’t much time to make it back through the field. Hopefully we can stay on top of the strategy and have a fast enough Tundra to be in the mix during the final run.”