Austin Hill not returning to Hattori in 2022

Austin Hill will be in a new ride for 2022. Shortly before Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, FOX Sports reported Hill will not return to Hattori Racing Enterprises next season as he hopes to move up to the Xfinity Series. A ride in said series and a new driver in HRE’s #16 Toyota Tundra were not immediately disclosed.

Hill is currently in his third full season with HRE, and the duo have proven to be one of the best in the Truck Series. Since joining the team, he has won eight races, including two in 2021 (the inaugural NASCAR race at Knoxville and the first Truck race at Watkins Glen in two decades), with a best points finish of fifth in 2019. He was eliminated from the 2021 playoffs after a crash in the final race of the opening round, but he had otherwise been running in the top three in points for much of the year.

Since 2019, he has also run a part-time Xfinity schedule with HRE in alliance with MBM Motorsports. In thirteen career starts, he has four top tens with a best finish of fifth at Kansas in 2020. His six-race slate for 2021 began with a ninth at Nashville in June, followed by twenty-fifth at Pocono and a retirement at the Indianapolis Road Course.

After exiting Saturday’s Talladega race due to a crash that resulted in a thirty-second-place finish, Hill further elaborated on his plans.

“We’re searching around, just trying to look around at other possibilities, other opportunities,” Hill told FOX. “Don’t know what the future holds yet, but it’s starting to look pretty good. That’s about all I could say. Excited for things to come.”

Hill’s successor in the #16 will be HRE’s fourth different driver since becoming a full-time operation in 2017. Ryan Truex finished ninth in points that year before being replaced by Brett Moffitt, who won six races en route to the 2018 championship. Sponsorship issues forced Moffitt out for 2019 and Hill was signed as his replacement. Ross Kenseth, the son of ex-NASCAR regular Matt Kenseth, and Xfinity regular Jesse Little have also made Truck starts for the team.

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