Hill Gears Up for '21 with Phoenix FinaleNovember 4, 2020
Next Year Starts Now … Austin Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals team are focused forward to the 2021 season and their efforts for next year start on Friday evening at Phoenix Raceway. After an unceremonious engine issue ended Hill’s title hopes a week ago, he looks to end the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series calendar in the same fashion as 2019: with a trip to victory lane in the season finale. Hill recently stated that he will return to the seat of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra in 2021 and looks to get a jump start towards next season with his first victory in the desert on Friday night.
Ability to Respond … Throughout the entire season, Hill and the HRE team have demonstrated the ability to immediately respond to sub-par finishes with outstanding performances. Both of Hill’s victories this season at Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway came after his only two previous finishes outside the top-20 and is poised to do the same on Friday night to eradicate a 35th-place result at Martinsville Speedway. The Winston, Ga. product has been remarkably consistent in 2020 and has just five finishes outside the top-10. In Hill’s four previous races following finishes outside the top-10, he has recorded top-five results in each, including two wins, three podium finishes, and 118 laps led.
Season to Date … Hill continues to lay claim to the best average finish (8.9) and most top five (11) and top-10 finishes (17) of any Gander Trucks competitor. He can finish as high as fifth in the championship standings and has set career highs in top-five’s, top-10’s, and laps led (348). He’ll look to close out ’20 with his first victory at a track under 1.5-miles in length to become the winningest driver in HRE team history.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the United Rentals team have prepared chassis No. 014 for the season finale at Phoenix. This is a newly constructed Toyota Tundra and will see its first laps of competition when the green flag waves on Friday night.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s coverage of the final Gander Trucks event of the season kicks off with NASCAR Raceday at 7:00 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stay updated with Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook, and @hattoriracing on Instagram.
Austin Hill Quote:
On closing out the season at Phoenix Raceway:
“We’ve had a really good season this year, shown a lot of speed, and this group definitely deserves to be in the final four. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the points worked out after the engine issue last week, but we’d like to close the year out the right way. All the guys at HRE put a lot of effort into our United Rentals Tundra this week. This is a brand-new piece for us and we’ve been steadily improving our flat-track package. We’ll be starting mid-pack, so we have some work to do, but I think we have a great chance to run up front and hopefully get our first win on a mile track. It’d be great to end the season with some momentum, because our entire team has even more motivation going into next year.”