Austin Hill joined the Gander Outdoors Truck Series with the goal of just winning a race.
Hill, 24, who won last week’s season-opening race at Daytona for his first career win, now knows how incredible it feels to stand triumphant in victory lane.
Hill had just one previous top-five finish when he was hired by Hattori Racing Enterprises to drive its No. 16 Toyota this season, replacing defending series champion Brett Moffitt, who could not secure sponsorship to remain with HTE.
“I had a lot of people throughout the off‑season and even when I got to the race track asking if a lot of weight was on my shoulders, you know, coming into a team that won the championship,” Hill said.
“You know, I kind of embraced that. I felt like they went out and won the championship last year, so I felt like they should at least get a shot at it. Now we are.
“To come here and get my first win at Daytona, it’s an amazing feeling. I don’t know if it’s really set in yet completely with me. I’m so, so excited going forward with these guys. I think that there’s a lot of good things ahead of us and on the horizon.”
With a spot in the playoffs all but solidified, Hill has removed points racing from the equation. Now, it’s all about winning races and competing for a championship at Homestead.
“The number one goal is to win the championship, so we’re locked in now. Kind of takes a weight off of your shoulders going into Atlanta,” Hill said. “We get to go have fun now.
“We’re not chasing points. We’re not chasing anything but wins. That’s going to be really cool. It’s going to be a lot more relaxed, I think, going forward. It comes down to going to try to win some more races, get as much bonus points as we can.”