Hattori Racing will defend its Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship with Austin Hill as its driver for the 2019 season.
A former NASCAR Next member, Hill replaces Brett Moffitt, who drove the No. 16 Toyota to six wins and the title in 2018. Hill will have sponsorship from United Rentals for multiple races after starting the season with Chiba Toyopet on his Tundra. The team says that additional sponsorship will be announced at a later date.
“I’m thrilled to join HRE this season,” Hill said. “Shige has built a great team and what they accomplished last season has me extremely optimistic heading to Daytona. I’ve had the pleasure to work with great teams in the past, including my family’s team in the K&N Series, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime at HRE. Scott [Zipadelli] and the team proved what they’re capable of last season, and I can’t wait to get to work and see what we can accomplish this season.”
Zipadelli will continue to lead the team as crew chief.
“I’m really looking forward to racing with Austin and continuing our team’s success,” Zipadelli said. “Austin is a great kid and has a lot of potential. He has a great track record in the K&N Series and put together a strong year last season with Young’s Motorsports. I think he’ll transition well into our program and fit right in with our group.”
After making 28 starts from 2014-17, Hill ran his first full Truck Series season last year. Competing with Young’s Motorsports, Hill finished 11th in the championship standings with six top-10 finishes. In 39 career starts in the K&N East Series, including full-time seasons in 2014 and ’15, Hill has five career wins.
“We’re proud of what all of our team members did last season, and I’m looking forward to having Austin drive our trucks and work with United Rentals and all of our partners,” Hattori said. “Austin had a great career in the K&N Pro Series and did well in his first full-time truck series season last year. I’m looking forward to what we can do together this season.”
HRE and Moffitt split when enough funding could not be found to ensure a full season.