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NASCAR

Sep 16 - 2020
Read Time 3 Min

A Rookie and A Veteran Look to Capture Truck Series Crown

Austin Hill prepares for qualifying.A Rookie and A Veteran Look to Capture Truck Series Crown
Two Toyota drivers have qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, which kick off this Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
 
For the second straight season, Austin Hill is vying for the championship. Hill had a very impressive regular season in his Hattori Racing Enterprises Tundra, scoring a series-best 14 top-10 finishes in 16 starts. Hill drove to his fifth career Truck Series win at Kansas Speedway and clinched the regular season title at Richmond Raceway last Thursday. With the regular season title, Hill earned 15 Playoff points and goes into the Playoffs as the number three seed. 
 
Austin Hill drives his Tundra to a top-10 finish.

“I’m not going to let up just because the Playoffs starts, I’m not going to do anything different,” said Hill. “I’m not going to approach it to where I do a little more give and take, it’s going to be as much take as I can get. I think that’s the way you’ve got to approach it. You have to be aggressive because every position matters and every stage point matters. That’s one thing this season that I’ve really focused on is just trying to be a lot more aggressive.”

Austin Hill
Hill will be joined in the Playoffs by 19-year-old Christian Eckes in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Toyota Tundra. Although Eckes is still looking for his first Truck Series win, he has had a strong season with three runner-up finishes, five top-five results and seven top-10s. Eckes is one of two rookies to qualify for the Playoffs this season and looks to best Zane Smith to earn the Rookie of the Year title as well.
Christian Eckes gets ready to board his Toyota Tundra.

“We’ve been close a few times,” said Eckes. “Working with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) year to year has definitely improved myself. I’d probably just say that. We’re trying to be better. I don’t think we are quite where we need to be just yet. We are really close, but to be better than the other teams we are just lacking a little bit. Hopefully, the next seven are really good for us. I feel like pretty much all seven we can go and win at. We will do the best we can and see what happens.”

Christian Eckes
Tundra racers have won eight Truck Series driver championships since joining series competition in 2004. Toyota also has its sights set on a 12th Truck Series Manufacturer Championship as the manufacturer currently leads the standings going into the Playoffs.
Christian Eckes takes on the corner.
The Truck Series kicks off their Playoff run this Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway on Fox Sports 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET.