Pontiac, Mich. — NASCAR driver Austin Hill made a pit stop at the Motor Bella outdoor auto show at M1 Concourse on Tuesday before his Xfinity series and truck series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Hill was at Motor Bella along with his No. 61 Toyota Supra Xfinity series race car. He signed hero cards for his fans and gave our free t-shirts too.
“I’m at Motor Bella hanging out with the AISIN guys,” he said in an exclusive interview. “It’s cool to be here, first time doing something like this. I was able to walk around and check a few things out. I knew that they did things like this but it’s one of those things that I haven’t really been invited to go do. It’s been cool to come out here and kind of check everything out and look at all of the cars and toys that people have. It’s been a blast so far.”
Have you had a chance to walk around… do you have a favorite car here?
“I’ve walked around a little bit. I haven’t made my way down too far. Here in the next hour before I leave I’m going to walk down and check more vehicles out. I’ve been over here by the Toyota, Chevy’s and Fords. I haven’t made my way around and checked out the older vehicles and all of the sports cars. I want to get down there and check those out soon.”
This is your actual No. 61 Xfinity series car here correct?
“This is our Xfinity series Toyota Supra. We’ve run it a handful of times this season. We’re actually racing it again. Two more races throughout the year, I believe. We still have four more races in the truck series to go. We have Las Vegas coming up this weekend. It’s been a pretty good season for us. Had a decent little crash at Bristol that hurt us a little bit in points. Other than that, it’s been a good year. We’ve run a bunch of races and had a little bit of fun with HRE and AISIN and Toyota. It’s been a good season for us so far.”
Are you excited about Las Vegas… how have you done there in the past?
“Yeah, Las Vegas has been a really good track for me. I’ve won there the last two years in the fall. So we’re trying to do the hat trick and go 3 for 3 if we can. The competition has been really strong this year so trying to get the win on a mile and a half… it’s been tough. That’s always been our strong suit has been our mile and a half. We’ve just got to put a full race together on the mile and a half’s and get the job done. I think a place like Las Vegas we can win at. I’m really excited to get out there and see what we can do in our Toyota Tundra.”
Now this will be the first time in Las Vegas with fans back in the stands. How does that feel?
“Yeah, you know we’ve had the fans in the stands a few races this year. I want to say Bristol we had a pretty decent crowd and then being able to go to Las Vegas and have the fans back is so cool because when I won back in 2020 it was so much different because you get out and you’re excited in the front stretch and you’re wanting to celebrate with the fans and nobody is there. It makes it nice having the fans coming back. I know we’re still on some restrictions and things like that. It at least gets back to somewhat normalcy. To be able to interact with those fans, sign autographs and do those type of things… it’s been really fun.”
We’re here at Motor Bella not too far from the Michigan international Speedway. How have you raced over there?
“The truck series didn’t end up running at MIS. We ran there last year in 2020 had a shot at the win and got in a wreck at the very end of the race. Back in 2019, we ended up winning there. We have pretty good stats at Michigan if you take out the wreck that we had. Maybe next season we can get the trucks out there at Michigan again.”
Are you excited about the 2022 race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
“The Cup cars are talking about going to the LA Coliseum. I think it’s going to be really cool for the fans. I don’t know how fun it will be for the teams going all the way out there and then coming back to Daytona and stuff. I do think it’s going to put on a pretty cool show. It’s going to be a really short track and probably a lot of beating and manging. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
A couple of weeks after that back at the Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR wants to tear it up and make it a much smaller track. What are your thoughts on that?
“I thought the track was really good. I thought how the tire wear was and how worn out it was made it a good race. I understand what they’re doing and I don’t disagree with what they’re doing fully. I think that we do need more short tracks on the schedule for NASCAR. I do think it’s a good thing that we’re changing stuff. I don’t know if they had to go to the extent of tearing down a race track to build another one but it is what it is. You can’t really say that NASCAR is doing the wrong thing or the right thing. I think they’re trying to do what’s best for the sport. They obviously see a market there and see something that can get the fans back into it and enjoy it. I think it might put on a good show. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Look for Austin Hill to drive the No. 61 Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the No. 16 Toyota in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.