A Monster Opportunity … As the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series enters the crux of the season, a monster opportunity awaits Austin Hill in “The First State”. Dover International Speedway is the site where Hill has had some of his greatest successes in his young career and looks for more of the same this week. The Winston, GA native scored his first-career K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) win at “The Monster Mile” in 2013 and followed that up with a second trip to victory lane in 2014. The driver of the No. 16 TRD 40th Anniversary Toyota Tundra has long held an affinity for Dover’s concrete canyons and sees the JEGS 200 as the perfect chance to get his season back on track.
Starting Right … While Hill would prefer to have had different outcomes in recent outings, he is off to the best start of his career in qualifying by a large margin. Hill has qualified in the top 10 at every race this year and has started sixth or better in three of his last four outings. In his first 51 Gander Trucks starts before this season, Hill had a total of eight top-10 starts. He’ll look to parlay another strong qualifying effort into another Monster Mile win on Friday evening.
Dover History … There are only two tracks on the schedule where Hill has more Gander Trucks starts than Dover. Hill has four starts at Dover in his 56-race career since making his debut at the concrete one-mile oval in 2015. Additionally, Hill has a 66.6% batting average in the NKNPSE at “The Monster Mile” with two victories in three starts.
Season to Date … After five of 16 regular season races, Hill remains the only Gander Trucks driver with a guaranteed reservation in the playoffs, courtesy of his victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Hill has one top five and two top-10 finishes and has collected more playoff points (five) than any other driver on the tour. His performances in qualifying have contributed to tallying 43 stage points, which is tied for the third-highest total in the series. Hill sits seventh in the regular season point standings, 49 points out of the lead.
Chassis Selection … Chassis No. 008 will make its third appearance of the season on Friday evening in the JEGS 200. Hill drove this chassis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway where he had race-winning speed but fell victim to overheating issues in both events. He qualified sixth and fifth, respectively, at those events.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 will have live coverage of the JEGS 200 beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag at 5 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 for his fifth-career start at Dover:
“I can’t wait. I’ve had Dover circled on the schedule for a while. I feel like we have a chance to win every week, but especially this weekend. I won my first K&N (Pro Series East) race at Dover and have always felt comfortable there. We’d love to celebrate TRD’s 40th anniversary in style this weekend with a win, and this is another good chance for us. The guys feel good about putting some of the issues we’ve had behind us, and I have all the confidence in the world in them. We haven't gotten the finishes we want recently, but we've been qualifying well at every place this year and that shows how fast our trucks are. We just need to start putting the whole race together, and hopefully we’ll do that this weekend.”