An Xfinity Series championship contender is about to make his Cup Series debut. Austin Hill will drive a third entry for Richard Childress Racing at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR broke the news on August 1 with the release of the entry list for the Cup Series race at Michigan. There were 37 cars on the list, which included Hill. He will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro for RCR while pulling double-duty at the two-mile track. He will join fellow Xfinity Series contender Noah Gragson, who will drive the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing.
“Austin Hill has shown talent in every Series he’s raced in during his career, so I couldn’t be more excited to have him behind the wheel of a Cup Series car,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, in a press release. “He’s having a strong season in the Xfinity Series, and I know he will be just as competitive and eager to learn behind the wheel of a Cup Series car.”
This double-duty weekend will be a unique experience for Hill. The Georgia native has no prior experience at Michigan International Speedway in the Xfinity Series, and he has never driven a Next Gen car. He will gain experience at the track on August 6 while pursuing his third win of the year, and then he will try to quickly adjust to a new stock car the following day.
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Hill does have some experience at the track in a different series. He made three Camping World Truck Series starts at Michigan International Speedway in 2018, 2019, and 2020. He finished all three races and won his second-ever start at the track.
This Entry List Provides a Partial Answer to an Important Question
With the entry list revealing that Hill will make his Cup Series debut, there are now even more questions. Will this be a one-off start for the Xfinity Series driver, or will it prepare him for another announcement?
RCR dropped a tease ahead of the trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team tweeted out a photo featuring the NASCAR Cup Series logo and the Richard Childress Racing logo. They sat below a silhouette of a driver that appeared to be Hill. Though the face and firesuit remained hidden.
This simple tease immediately created intrigue. There were questions about whether this driver would be the replacement for Tyler Reddick, who will head to 23XI Racing after the 2023 season. Other questions revolved around whether this would be a one-off start or a full-time move.
RCR didn’t provide details with the initial tease. Instead, the team simply provided a date. The announcement will take place on August 2, ahead of the trip to Michigan International Speedway.
The No. 33 Has Featured Some Big Names
The race at Michigan International Speedway will provide Hill with a unique opportunity. He will pursue a strong finish in the No. 33 entry, which would put him on a list with several big names.
The entry has featured 104 drivers across multiple teams, such as Austin Dillon and David Pearson, but only three have reached Victory Lane. This includes Joe Nemechek, who won at Rockingham Speedway in 2001 while driving the No. 33 for Andy Petree Racing.
Clint Bowyer won three races during his time in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. He won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in 2010. He then returned to Victory Lane at Talladega in 2011.
Harry Gant achieved the most success in the No. 33 while driving for Mach 1 Racing, Jackson Bros. Motorsports, and Leo Jackson Motorsports — which later became Andy Petree Racing. He won 18 races between 1982 and 1992, including four times at Dover Motor Speedway.
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