Austin Hill will be returning to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) competition this weekend, as he is set to race the Empire Racing Group’s No. 82 Ford F-150 in the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hill, a NASCAR Next driver and K&N Pro Series East winner, is partnering with the Empire Racing Group to compete in three upcoming NCWTS races including: Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
The 22-year-old Winston, Ga. native has four NCWTS starts under his belt. Two of those starts came earlier this year when he competed at Daytona and Dover. While a left rear tire went down and ended the team’s day early at Daytona, Hill remains optimistic about his upcoming return to a superspeedway.
“We had a really fast truck at Daytona with Empire Racing Group at the start of the season,” said Hill. “We were the fastest on the board in the first practice there. The truck drafted really well too. That was my first time drafting like that, and I was still trying to figure it out, so in the race I got behind (Johnny) Sauter and was able to really understand how to side draft. Since then, I’ve talked a lot of people about Talladega, and it looks like for as good as we ran at Daytona we should be good on speed this weekend. Also, Talladega is a wider track so there’s more room if you do happen to make a mistake.”
Empire Racing Group crew chief, Mike “Grumpy” Cheek, is looking forward to working with the up-and-coming NASCAR driver this weekend.
"I am excited to have Austin back behind the wheel of ERG's Ford truck this Saturday for the Talladega Fred's 250 race,” said Cheek. “Austin is a very talented young man and I am privileged to get to work with him again. It just feels right with Austin at the wheel for ERG. You know you have that feeling when things feel good and are a good fit. I have an excellent crew of young talented guys that will compliment Austin's abilities on the track. The energy is there and the knowledge is there to get things done. I am very blessed to be given the opportunity to work with these young men and we will be a force to be reckoned with this Saturday. "
Coming into Talladega with a little more knowledge on how to draft, Hill is already starting to think about which drivers and teams he could work with throughout the race despite not being at the track every weekend.
“John Hunter Nemecheck is a good buddy of mine, so I’ll likely get with him and talk about his game plan,” said Hill. “He has really fast trucks so hopefully we can connect on the track. I’m also hoping to connect with Brad Keselowski Racing and see if I can draft with their two trucks. I’m sure I’ll work on making some new friends out there as well, but once you get in the race, it’s different than talking about it on the phone or at the track. You could get separated for 20 to 30 laps. So, we’ll just see how it goes and work from there.”
Overall, Hill’s goal remains the same as any other driver – to win.
“Every driver wants to get out there and win every race that they can,” Hill stated. “If circumstances work out for us, and it’s late in the race and we have 15 laps to go and we are in the Top-5 or Top-10, I think we’ll have a great chance at the win. We just have to wait and see how it all stacks up.”
Also for the Fred’s 250, Empire Racing Group and Austin Hill will be partnering with Doug Herbert’s B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School. The organization works to prevent injuries and save lives by training and educating teenage drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving.
“This partnership is a great way to advocate, raise awareness and educate NASCAR fans and their families about B.R.A.K.E.S.,” said Doug Herbert, Founder of B.R.A.K.E.S.
Matt Riley, Director of Operations for B.R.A.K.E.S., echoed Herbert’s statement.
“B.R.A.K.E.S. is excited to continue its partnership with the Empire Racing Group,” he explained. “They have supported the charity since the beginning and worked with us to raise national awareness through their experience and reach in NASCAR."
Empire Racing PR