Gateway To Bonus Points … Austin Hill has bonus points on his mind as the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads for the Gateway city this weekend. The driver of the No. 16 ARCO National Construction heads to his sponsor’s hometown looking to climb up the ladder on the Gander Truck provisional playoffs leader board. Hill has five playoff points and is ranked second on the provisional playoff grid with six races remaining in the regular season. He’ll chase another handful of playoff points in search for his first victory at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWT Raceway) on Saturday night.
Climb Back In It … As the sands in the hourglass run thin on the Gander Trucks regular season, Hill and the No. 16 team are focused on climbing up from seventh position in the standings in preparation for the playoffs. Hill has collected top-10 finishes in four of the last five events, including a fourth place run at Kansas Speedway. With a playoff point on the line for each position in the standings at the end of the regular season, the next six races can elevate Hill’s chances in the run for the title.
HRE Salutes … During the NASCAR Salutes campaign, HRE will honor service members close to the team members by placing their names on the right-side door of Hill’s No. 16 Toyota Tundra.
Hill and the No. 16 team will carry a local father-son duo, native to St. Louis, Missouri, with deep military roots. William Hobbs, who served in both the U.S. Army and Air Force, and his son Eric Hobbs, who is an active airman based at Offutt Air Force Base will be above the right-side door this weekend at WWT Raceway. William Hobbs joined the Air Force in 1966 for four years, joined the ROTC while attending Central Missouri State, and became an Army officer after graduating in 1974. One of his career highlights included time as an instructor as West Point and was promoted to Major by the time he retired in 1991.
Staff Sergeant Eric Hobbs joined the Air Force in 2011 as an Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst (ACLA) and has served two deployments as part of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. He is currently stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, NE, has been awarded three Air Medals and currently trains incoming ACLA’s. He is a native of St. Louis and even began his professional career as an intern at WWT Raceway in 2009.
Gateway History … Hill has posted a pair of strong results in two prior appearances at WWT Raceway. His best finish came last season with Young’s Motorsports in an 11th-place effort and earned a 14th-place result in his track debut in 2017.
Season to Date … Ten Gander Trucks races are in the books, and Hill is one of three drivers to lock themselves into the eight-truck playoff field. Hill has one victory at Daytona International Speedway, compiled two top-five's, six top-10 finishes and holds down the seventh position in the championship standings. He’s also led a career-high 80 laps in five different races.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the No. 16 group will bring chassis No. 009 to WWT Raceway for Saturday’s contest. Hill drove this Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season and finished 16th. It’s last appearance in 2018 resulted in a victory at ISM Raceway during the playoffs.
Tune In … FOX Sports will kick off their coverage from Gateway beginning with tape-delayed coverage of pole qualifying at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night on FS2. The third race in the Triple Truck Challenge will take the green flag at 10:00 p.m. ET on FS1. 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 his outlook with six races left before the playoffs:
“Gateway is a fun racetrack. We’ve had solid runs the first two starts there, and we definitely want another one this week. We’re all ready to go and focused on executing these last six races before the playoffs start. I’d love to give ARCO National Construction a big run on Saturday, since they’re based in St. Louis, and put some more bonus points on the board before we get to the playoffs. Scott (Zipadelli) and these guys had the fastest truck there last season, so hopefully we’ll have more of the same on Saturday and take full advantage of it.”