Austin Hill is checking off the boxes on his list of goals

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 25: Austin Hill, driver of the #16 Ibaraki Toyopet Toyota, stands on the grid during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Before the start of the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Austin Hill wrote down a list of goals for the year.

With three races left before the series champion is crowned, the driver of the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota is a long way toward achieving all of them.

“I kind of set some goals just for myself, and I wrote ‘em down on a piece of paper. One of them was a race win, make it to the Round of 6 (in the Playoffs) and hopefully to make it to the Round of 4 (the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway).

“That’s really my next goal, to get into that Round of 4 and at least have a shot at Homestead. If we don’t come home with the championship, obviously we’re going to be a little bummed out. Just giving ourselves a chance at Homestead is definitely the number one key.”

Driving for the defending championship team, Hill got his first goal out of the way early, winning the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. He also won at Michigan and took the checkered flag in the Round of 8 elimination race at Las Vegas.

With two races left in the Round of 6, he is third in the standings, 12 points ahead of fifth-place Tyler Ankrum heading into Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

On Nov. 8 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, the Gander Trucks Playoff field will be cut from six drivers to four. Hill believes he has an excellent chance to make the cut.

“I had plenty of confidence in myself,” he said. “I’ve always had confidence in my ability. I knew, with the right equipment, I felt like I could get the job done and compete for race wins. It’s hard to win in this series—any of these top three series, it’s hard to get a race win, so to have three is definitely good.

“I feel like, looking back, with some of the issues we’ve had throughout the season, I feel like we could possibly have had more wins.”

But at this point, Hill would be happy to settle for one more—as long as it comes at Homestead.

Greg Engle