Richard Childress Racing has confirmed Austin Hill will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Michigan International Speedway next Sunday.
After hinting at a big announcement regarding their NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup last week, Richard Childress Racing revealed the news on Tuesday when they confirmed Austin Hill plans to drive a third entry for the team in the FireKeepers. Casino 400 from Sunday afternoon in Michigan. International Speedway.
Hill, who is in his first season as a full-time Xfinity Series driver with Richard Childress Racing, has never competed in a Cup Series race before.
The 28-year-old Winston, Georgia native plans to drive the #33 Chevrolet during Sunday’s 200-lap race around the 4.0-mile (3,219 kilometers) Brooklyn, Michigan oval alongside full-time teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick .
Is this a sign of things to come?
Earlier this summer, Richard Childress Racing announced that they had picked up the option in Reddick’s contract to keep him behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet into 2023, but what they didn’t do was reward his stellar performance with a contract extension.
So what did Reddick do? He turned around and signed a multi-year contract with 23XI Racing and Toyota, a deal set to kick off in 2024.
Richard Childress Racing claimed to be surprised by the deal and responded by saying the announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time, while Reddick stated they should have seen it coming.
In addition, the timing of the announcement gave the team ample time to look for a replacement for Reddick behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet for 2024.
Hill was immediately seen as one of the top contenders to replace 26-year-old Corning, California, in two seasons, given his success with Richard Childress Racing in his rookie Xfinity Series season.
He won twice in 20 starts and had six other top five finishes, and he is sixth in the points standings, which puts him seven positions ahead of fellow rookie teammate Sheldon Creed.
Let’s also not forget that Richard Childress Racing delivered a third entry for Reddick for two races in 2019, when Dillon and Daniel Hemric were the team’s full-time drivers.
Reddick, who was in his first year with the organization at Xfinity level at the time at the time, eventually promoted to the Cup Series as a replacement for Hemric in 2020.
Will history repeat itself?
There’s no guarantee, of course, that Hill will be behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet in 2024, but as noted above, the timing of Reddick’s 23XI Racing announcement gives the team plenty of time to assess their options.
Given their decision to put Hill in a third car this weekend, he appears to be at the top of their shortlist of candidates.
The FireKeepers Casino 400 will air live on NBC from Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 7 at 3:00 PM ET. Start a free FuboTV trial now and don’t miss out!