The Next Step … Austin Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals team continue their quest in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs as the Round of Six begins at Talladega Superspeedway. As the most recent Gander Trucks winner, Hill’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) propelled him into the second round as the No. 16 team, led by crew chief Scott Zipadelli, continue their production in the playoffs. Dating back to HRE’s 2018 championship run, the No. 16 team has won three of the last five Gander Trucks playoff races. Hill will look to make that four out of the last six in Saturday’s 250-miler at Talladega.
Marching On … The championship quest for Hill and the No. 16 team continues thanks to a solid performance in the first round of the playoffs. Hill delivered a 10th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, followed by a fifth-place run at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park before scoring his third win of the year at LVMS. Hill and company have saved their strongest stretch of performances for the most crucial point of the season. In the last four races, Hill has tallied two victories, led in three of those races for 56 laps and has three top-five finishes. He’ll look for another similar performance on Saturday at Talladega, and possibly a direct ticket to the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Super Speedway Stat Sheet … In the season opener at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) earlier this year, Hill made a statement with his first Gander Trucks win and his first super speedway victory. In his five Gander Trucks starts on super speedways, Hill has two top-10’s and three finishes of 11th or better. His best finish at Talladega was a 10th last season and will look to be the first Gander Trucks driver to sweep the super speedway races since 2013.
Season to Date … As the season nears the crescendo with four races remaining, Hill has constructed the best year of his racing career. Through 19 races, Hill has scored three wins, tied for the second-most among series regulars, six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Tundra has led a career-high 151 laps in 10 of the 19 races contested and enters Talladega second in the point standings, and six points above the cut line.
Chassis Selection … For the first time since his breakthrough win at DIS in February, Hill will pilot chassis No. 002. This Toyota Tundra is purpose built for super speedway racing and will make its second and final start of the season this weekend. This Tundra finished 17th to advance in the playoffs at Talladega last season with Brett Moffitt after enduring several incidents.
Tune In … FOX Sports’ coverage from Talladega gets underway on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET with qualifying on FOX Sports 1. Race coverage begins shortly thereafter at 1:00 p.m. ET on FS1 followed by the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET. To stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 team, follow @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:
On starting the Round of Six at a superspeedway:
“Talladega definitely stands out as a wild card race, but it’s also a big opportunity too. Almost anyone in the field can win and we showed how strong our super speedway program is earlier this year at Daytona. When the field gets thinned out from six to four trucks for Homestead, stage points will probably make the difference, but you’re going to need consistent finishes too. We had an awesome Tundra at Daytona. We could lead and it drove well back in the pack in dirty air, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we have with our United Rentals Tundra. If we can keep our nose clean and get to the last 15-20 laps, I know we’ll have a good shot at locking ourselves into Homestead.”