Austin Hill has been named the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year after the Xfinity Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 5.
The news comes as 28-year-old Hill of Winston, Georgia, exits his first full-time campaign at the Xfinity circuit behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s #21 Chevrolet Camaro, racking up two wins, one pole, and 12 of the five places. First, 21 top-10 results, 329 laps ahead, average finish score of 11.0 throughout the 33-race schedule.
Hill graduated on a full-time Xfinity campaign this season after spending the previous four seasons in the NASCAR Truck Series, racking up eight wins and three playoff appearances. He started his junior Xfinity campaign in a big way by winning the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway in February and achieving the first victory of his career at the Xfinity circuit. The victory occurred in a final pass over veteran AJ Allmendinger, whom Hill was able to overtake before being warned due to multiple car wrecks falling on the back that concluded the event and handed the victory over to Hill and RCR.
After his victory at Daytona, Hill collected two second place results, five top five results, and eight top 10 results over the next 15 scheduled events. He then scored his second career victory at Xfinity at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his home circuit, in July after a dominant run to the finish. Those two wins were more than enough to cement Hill’s place in the 2022 Xfinity Series Playoffs as he racked up an additional six top-10 results for the remainder of the regular season. Despite finishing second, 14th, and 29th respectively, during the round of 12, Hill moved into the round of 8. However, he did not move to the fourth round of the tournament despite taking the top ten during the eighth round. He got into a post-race altercation with Myatt Snider at Martinsville Speedway in October, and finished ninth during the final in Phoenix, which was good enough to conclude the season in sixth place in the final driver standings behind the Allmendinger.
With his achievement, Hill became the first competitor to win the Xfinity Rookie title while representing RCR since former Series Champion Austin Dillon made the most recent achievement in 2012. He also became the first Chevrolet competitor to receive the award since Tyler Riddick’s latest achievement in 2018, winning his first title cascading.
Hill’s opponents for this year’s Xfinity Rookie title included Team Sheldon Creed, Kyle Sage and Jesse Ioji.
Hill’s Xfinity plans for 2023 have yet to be officially announced, although he is expected to return for a second full-time campaign with RCR. He is also scheduled to start six times in the NASCAR Cup Series for Beard Motorsports, starting with the 65th Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway which is scheduled for February 19.
Xfinity Series competitors and teams will enter an off-season period before returning to play at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2023 to start a new racing season.