Austin Hill thinking Truck title but "here to win Talladega"
Austin Hill believes he can win the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series title but it’s not his most immediate goal.
Hill, who opened the 2019 season winning the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, is looking to sweep the superspeedway races this season with a win in Saturday’s race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
A win at Talladega would also lock Hill into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and give him the opportunity race for a series title in his first season with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
“I feel like you can’t really change anything you have done all season. We need to be aggressive and we need to be upfront, because we need to get stage points,” Hill, 25, said. “Stage points are huge. If we can go out there and win the first two stages – and get 20 stage points – that’s huge going into the next round.
“I’m here to win Talladega. I’m looking at Homestead, but my No. 1 goal is to win Talladega. And if I’ve got to get aggressive to make it happen, I’m going to.”
While Hill doesn’t have playoff experience, his team does. His crew chief, Scott Zipadelli, and the No. 16 HRE Toyota won the Truck series title last season with driver Brett Moffitt.
“I feel like Talladega is obviously an unknown and you’ve got to get through this round. Our No. 1 goal is to get stage points in Stage 1 and Stage 2 and hopefully we can be there at the end of the race for a solid top-10 if not a win,” Hill said.
“If we are in the lead, it’s going to get aggressive to try to win the race obviously. But I feel really confident going into Martinsville and Phoenix. Probably a little more confident in Phoenix than Martinsville.
“I feel very confident that this team is capable of being in the Final 4 and being able to compete for a championship at Homestead for sure.”
So far this season, Hill has three wins – Daytona, Michigan and the playoff race last month at Las Vegas – and six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes and won two poles.
“I’ve always been pretty confident in myself and my ability that I can go out there and with the right equipment I can run up front and compete for race wins,” Hill said. “I knew how hard it was to win in the top three series.
“After winning at Daytona it gave me a ton a confidence and I just knew we’d win another race pretty early in the season. It didn’t happen and you start getting kind of frustrated. To get fired on all cylinders and get things figured out right before the playoffs started was huge.”
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