Toyota Racing –Austin Hill
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Quotes
AVONDALE, Az. (November 8, 2019) – Tundra Playoff driver Austin Hill was made available to media at ISM Raceway:
AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
How did practice go for you this morning?
“I was very worried when we first unloadd. We were fighting a really loose condition. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys, they really went to work. We didn’t have much time in between practices. I think we only had like 30 minutes to get it turned back around, but we made a huge improvement from first practice to second practice. It felt like as we ran, our long run speed got a little bit better and then got pretty good and there at the end, we just felt like we had so many ins and outs, we just wanted to go ahead and mock up and see where we stacked up. We ended up pretty good, we ended up P-4 I believe there in final practice. We showed a lot more speed than I was anticipating. It’s going to be nice to get going here today. It kind of sucks that you have to sit here for four or five hours before you get to go out and qualify. There’s going to be a lot of stuff going through my head before we get to qualifying and get to race time.”
How do you look at being nine points above the cutoff line?
“We just have to stay in front of the 88 (Matt Crafton) and the 17 (Tyler Ankrum) is the way I see it. I feel like comparing us to them and everyone else in practice, I felt we weree preetty good. I feel like everyone is really close. We’re all very close on long run speed and short run speed, I think we might be just a little bit off there. I feel like our long run speed is pretty good so hopefully we can have a long green flag run. If it gets down to the end of the race and we have to do a short run, I hope we can improve on it throughout the race. The biggest thing is to get stage points and stay ahead of the 88 and the 17 all night long and don’t let them win.”
Do you worry about the points and lose sleep or agonize over them?
“I actually just race these races like I would if it was the beginning of the season. The only thing that really changes for me is that you definitely want to go for stage points in stage one and two.Throughout the season, with us winning the first race of the season, we didn’t ever really look at stage points too much. We always just did our own thing and did our own strategy. Since the Playoffs started, we’ve really went for those stage points so that’s really the only thing that’s changed.”
Do you think it’s going to be a battle tonight?
“It’s going to be elbows up every single lap. It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.”
Do you anticipate Playoff drivers making moves tonight they normally wouldn’t make?
“I think if it gets down to the end of the race and we have a green-white-checkered or say we have a green flag with 10 (laps) to go or something, there’s going to be a lot of beating and banging. There’s going to be a lot of people mad after the race. I don’t see this race being very subtle. I think it’s going to be a very intense race. I actually think we’re going to have a decent amount of cautions tonight. Just seeing how Martinsville went and seeing how the guys have been racing, I think it’s going to be – hopefully we’re not in it like we were at Martinsville. We just have to stay up front and watch out for all the mayley.”
How aggressivee will you be?
“It all depends on how the points are unfolding. If we have really good stage one and two and we’re looking really good and the 88 (Matt Crafton) and the 17 (Tyler Ankrum) don’t look like they have a shot at winning, if it comes down to the end of the race and we’re running inside the top-five and we have a good shot at winning, I’m going to do everything I can to win the race. That’s obviously my number one goal is to go win the race. At the same time, you don’t want to put yourself in a bad predicament to get taken out.”
What was the magic fix from first practice to second practice?
“We threw a ton of stuff at it. We changed left-front spring, we changed left-rear spring, we did a lot of shock changes and shock adjustments and just a lot of stuff we threw at it. A lot of wedge and track bar stuff. We just got it better. I felt like our long run speed was definitely pretty good. Our short run speed, I’m still not 100 percent sold on. I don’t know exactly where we stack up with short run speed. To be able to go out and mock up as good as we did, I think that does show that we have a lot better speed than what we unloaded with for sure.”
Is your driving style similar to Brett Moffitt that would allow the team to bring a similar setup for Homestead?
“Our short track program, I feel like me and (Brett) Moffitt have two totally different driving styles when it comes to the short track side. We’ve been struggling a good bit this year on Gateway, Martinsville, Bristol and tracks like that. We weren’t terrible at Dover and then here we seem to have some decent speed. Short track-wise, we’ve definitely had to do a full change from what they were doing last year for me, just the way my driving style is. As far as mile-and-a-halves go, we’ve been running very similar setups. It seems like I like the truck to be a little bit freer and any time it’s on the tight side, I seem to slow down quite a bit. We’ve been working on trying to keep the truck free for me throughout the race. Every time we’ve been on free side, we’ve had a lot of speed.”
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