Austin Hill was inducted into the 2014-2015 NASCAR NEXT class at Richmond International Raceway due to scoring a victory at Dover International Raceway last season and having three top-five finishes in the K&N Pro Series East this season.
“Running on a low budget team like ours, without sponsorship, I feel very privileged to be in this NASCAR NEXT class,” Hill explained to Speedway Media at Richmond on Saturday prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. “I’m expecting the program to help me with my media training, like talking to the public, but (ultimately), I think it’ll help me get to know these (Sprint) Cup and Nationwide drivers (which) will help me get my name out there so I can (be racing) with them one day.”
The NASCAR NEXT members introduced themselves and developed first impressions before Richmond, and thankfully, they all have quite civil and great friendships already or currently being established.
“I know a lot of the (NASCAR NEXT) members already,” Hill expressed about building relationships with the other NASCAR NEXT inductees. “We all are good friends and I (hope) to become friends with the new faces, so it’s pretty cool to (relate) with everyone.”
Hill, 20, scored his first K&N East victory at Dover International Speedway last season after holding off and passing C.J. Faison. Little did he know that trip to victory lane would open a multitude of fresh opportunities.
“We had a really good car there,” Hill noted about his trip to victory lane in Dover, Delaware in the K&N East Series last season. “The first time (at that track) is really scary, you just don’t know what to expect with the car when it’s (diving) off into the corner that fast. With the K&N cars (there), you’re pretty much holding it wide-open, especially the first two laps on a restart.”
Hill’s also taking a different approach than other NASCAR NEXT inductees. He’s looking to create a better media appearance, find sponsorship and reach the NASCAR Touring Series, and that choice or goal could pay dividends in the future. In addition to the media ordeal, he’s hoping to capture more victories and possibly, the K&N East championship this season.
“I would definitely like to accomplish (another) win,” Hill said about the goals he’s set while running in the NASCAR NEXT program. “I’ve been struggling on getting my first win (this season), we’ve had three top-fives, and the other two (starts) I wrecked out and had a blown tire, but, getting wins and working on my media training is the (main) goal.”
Hill, piloting from Winston, Georgia, was recently engaged to Ashlyn Sellers, and he’s looking to use her support to advance his techniques which will help propel him to the ultimate goal: racing in the Sprint Cup Series.