Toyota Racing – Austin Hill
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Quotes
HOMESTEAD, Florida (June 11, 2020) – Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Austin Hill was made available to media via videoconference prior to the Baptist Health 200 this Saturday:
AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
The last time the Truck Series went to Homestead, you took home the win. Talk about your excitement heading back there this weekend.
“Yeah, it’s always really fun to go back to a track that you’ve won at. It gives you a lot of confidence, going in. We were really good there last year. It’s going to be a little bit different this year with it being a little bit hotter and when we are racing. It’s probably going to be slicker. It’s going to be nice to have the Xfinity cars go out first to get some rubber down on the track. I’m excited. I’m excited to get going. Our United Rentals Toyota Tundra is going to be really good there, I believe. Hopefully, we can go close out a win, and get in these Playoffs.”
For this weekend, we are starting to see spectators slowly filter back into NASCAR racing. How excited are you, as drivers, to see the fans return to the track?
“I feel like it’s a huge step by NASCAR to start implementing some things to kind of get back to a little more normal. I’m really excited for it. I think it’s really a good direction that we are going in. It’s been very odd being back at the race track and nobody being there and not seeing fans in the stands. Us drivers, we see that and we know that it’s not right and we know that we want to see the fans. We want to see their reactions and all of the screaming and hollering that they do. It’s always good to see them there. I’m glad we’re taking some really good steps forward into having some fans at the track.”
Now, you have two races under your belt without practice or qualifying, how do you feel about it?
“Even from the first race we had with no practice at Charlotte, I had a ton of confidence going into the race. I think you kind of saw that as soon as the green flag dropped, we drove up to the lead pretty quick at Charlotte. I have a ton of confidence in Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and everyone at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises) to give me a really fast truck right off of the trailer. I think that’s why you are seeing so much confidence out of me is because I have so much confidence in my guys. I think that they are one of the best when it comes to coming off of the hauler, and being good – having your splitter heights close, just everything that goes into what you would be doing in practice. It just starts by being prepared at the race shop. They always come prepared – each and every week, and I don’t think things are going to be any different at Homestead. I think you are going to see, hopefully, us – when we start the race, be pretty close in setup. With it being a little bit hotter there this year, we are probably to go a little bit different to start the race, just to be a little more on the tighter side because we feel like the grip is not going to be there or as good. There’s a few changes that we are going to make from last year, but like I said, I have all the confidence in the world in my guys and it’s actually been really nice to be able to go out there and go into turn one and get after it.”
Why is Hattori Racing so good at Miami?
“From the time that they went there, they unloaded with a really good setup and they’ve just kind of worked on it from there. I don’t know what all the differences is that they do at Homestead than what other guys do. For whatever reason, we’ve had really good long run speed. You saw that back when Brett (Moffitt) was here and when (Ryan) Truex was here. They’ve just always been good at Homestead for whatever reason. I think it’s because our truck is able to wrap the bottom so well. We’re able to run right on the Bottom and paint that white line. Some of the things they have learned at Homestead, we started implementing at other tracks where you fight grip. I think you saw that at Atlanta this past weekend, where I could really run the bottom really well. I could really paint that white line and we are really just able to implement some things on tracks that are a little more worn out. They are just really able to get that thing to cut to bottom and turn really good and still have that forward drive off.”
What kind of reaction did you get of your heartbreak not winning a week ago?
“Everything that I got from everyone was very positive thoughts. Everyone was trying to lift my spirits up. It happens all the time. If you go back and look at Cup races, you can see a guy like a Kyle Busch or somebody be dominate all day and it comes down to a green-white-checkered finish and he ended up not getting the job done because he didn’t have a short run truck. That’s what kind of ultimately happened with us. Our truck took five-or-so laps to get going on a restart, but we knew we were really good after those five laps and that we could run really good lap times on old tires once the heat got in them. I went back and I watched the video time-and-time again, already. There are things I think I should have done differently and could have done differently to maybe have a little different outcome. We are going to go on to the next race. I’m excited that we’re going to Homestead – a track that we won at, so hopefully we can get it done there and not have it stolen from us.”
What are your thoughts on NASCAR removing the confederate flags and what does that mean for the sport?
“Honestly, I try to stay out of a lot of that stuff. I’m not the type of guy that gets into that big topic in conversations. I think it can be a move in the right direction for NASCAR. I know a lot of people see different views and things and maybe not like what it might represent to them and it might represent something different for someone else. I think you just got to – the way the world is today, you kind of have to see the bigger picture and see kind of how everyone is going to respond to it and try to work through it the best you can. I know NASCAR is doing all they can to make it an all-around sport, so yeah. As far as my standpoint from it, I try to stay out of all of that. I try to go out and race and have a good time at it.”
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