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Austin Hill to make NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Daytona

Austin Hill is going to attempt to pick up a second consecutive NASCAR win at Daytona International Speedway this season.

Austin Hill to make NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Daytona

Hill, a regular in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series who won the season opener at Daytona, will compete in the July 5 Xfinity Series race at the track in an entry fielded by Hattori Racing Enterprises.

Hill, 25, currently drives HRE’s No. 16 Toyota in the Truck series. HRE has not fielded an entry in the Xfinity Series since 2015.

“I never thought the day would come. I was sat down the other day, actually and (asked) ‘Hey, we’re going to do this deal, can you drive it? Even if I had something going that weekend that scratches that out,” Hill said Saturday at Iowa Speedway. “I’m going Xfinity racing.

“I can’t thank Shiggy (Hattori) enough. We are a good solid team; we just need to take that little extra step to get some wins under our belt. To be able to go to the Xfinity Series race and do it with this team, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

“I have all the faith in the world with my guys in the shop and Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and everybody backing me. It’s going to be a good opportunity for us.”

HRE owner Shigeaki Hattori told that he plans to compete in at least five Xfinity races this season and has sponsorship for the endeavor from AISIN, a Japanese corporation that develops and produces components and systems for the automotive industry.

“The Supra is a huge deal over in Japan, so I really want to do something for Supra in NASCAR,” said Hattori. “We put together some races this year and we going to start at Daytona.

“He (Austin) did a really great job in Daytona, he won the first Truck race, and at the same time I want to get some more experience. Austin’s done a really good job this year. We’ve had some mechanical issues after Daytona, but he’s done a really good job, especially last week at Texas Motor Speedway.”

Hill enters Friday night’s Truck race at Iowa Speedway already locked in the playoffs by virtue of his Daytona win and is seventh in the series standings.

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Author Jim Utter