Starting Strong … Austin Hill, driver of the No. 16 A&D Welding Toyota Tundra, has started 2019 strong and looks to regain the top spot in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) point standings this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). Hill is one point shy of the series lead thanks to his victory at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) and a seventh-place effort last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Through two races, Hill has an average finish of 4.0 and is off to the best start in his NGOTS career.
On a Heater … The No. 16 team, led by crew chief Scott Zipadelli, is on quite a hot streak, dating back to Martinsville Speedway last October with Brett Moffitt. In 2018, the No. 16 squad finished the season with four straight top-three finishes, including two victories, and Hill has continued that excellence this season. The 24-year old Georgia native looks to extend the team’s streak to seven consecutive top-10 finishes in his first start with HRE at LVMS.
Vegas Trends … Friday night’s Strat 200 marks Hill’s third trip to Nevada’s 1.5-mile tri oval. Hill made his LVMS debut last spring and earned a top-10 finish driving for Young’s Motorsports. The 10th-place finish last March was Hill’s first top-10 of his 2018 campaign and looks to record another track-best finish on Friday at LVMS.
Season to Date … While it’s still early, Hill stands alone on the playoff mountain. After two of 23 races, Hill is the only driver with a guaranteed position on the NGOTS Playoff Grid, courtesy of his victory at DIS. He enters Sin City residing in the second position in the NGOTS driver championship standings with one win and two top-10 finishes.
Chassis Selection … Hill will chase his second checkered flag of 2019 in chassis No. 008 at LVMS. This chassis was built last season and went to victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway last June. Most recently, this Toyota Tundra finished third in the playoffs last November at Texas Motor Speedway with driver Brett Moffitt.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 will have live coverage from LVMS beginning with pole qualifying at 5 p.m. ET on Friday evening. Two rounds of qualifying will set the field for the Strat 200, which takes the green flag at 9 p.m. ET. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Austin Hill Quote:
On returning to LVMS and the second 1.5-mile track of 2019:
“I’m looking forward to all the 1.5-mile tracks this year with how strong this team was last season. The spring race in Vegas was one of our better outings last year with Young’s Motorsports, so I’m looking for good things this weekend with our A&D Welding Tundra. We had a lot of long-run speed at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) last week, so I think that can carry over to this week. We have a couple things to clean up to take us from finishing seventh, like we did last week, to get those top-five’s and challenge for another win. Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys have been working real hard on these trucks, so I have a lot of confidence again for Friday night.”