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Timmy Hill Returning to NASCAR Competition in 2012
Daytona Beach, FL - 2/18/2012
By Andy Marquis
With his rookie year in his rear view mirror, Charles County native Timmy Hill is looking to the 2012 NASCAR season with hopes of a win. Hill, who won Rookie of the Year last year, will race the entire season with Rick Ware Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"We're building better cars next year and got more experience. We're looking for top ten in points,” Hill said. "Normally history repeats itself; we're going in the right direction. I've learned a lot this year, the team has learned a lot. We're going to have a really strong year in 2012. All we have is the full Nationwide Series, I still have my legend car. I'm looking to run some of those races. That's plenty enough. I'm happy with that.
"We already have everything sorted out and running the entire 2012 season. Poynt will be on the car for, most likely, the full season."
Hill also reflected on his rookie season, which started in the second race of the 2012 NASCAR season since he was too young to compete in the 2011 DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona.
"To finally pull that off is an incredible feeling,” Hill said. “We were so happy to win that. Coming in to Homestead, we were tied up. First part of the race we were behind but we made some changes and got on the lead lap. It came down to the last few laps and could've gone either way. To be ahead when the checkered flag fell was an incredible feeling.
"When I came back, my family had a banner set up in the garage and it was pretty cool. It was a15 foot banner both ways. It was cool to see that. My friends and family were there. It was really cool to come back and get the congratulations. "Starting in a one race deficit hurt us but we were able to overcome that."
Hill became the youngest NASCAR Rookie of the Year winner, doing so in the closest ROTY race in Nationwide Series history. Hill beat out Blake Koch, who has also signed on with Rick Ware Racing in 2012, and former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Ryan Truex. Truex was unable to run the season finale race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
Hill, like most young drivers, uses computer based simulators to learn track layouts because of a testing ban imposed by NASCAR prior to the 2009 season. Prior to the ban, drivers could rent out tracks and test their cars and learn the tracks. Now, teams are forced to test at tracks that are not used in the major league divisions.
"I run iRacing and there are small things you can pick up on such as pit road, commitment cone,” he said. “It helps you figure out a track layout on a road course that I've never been on. It helped with Road America and I knew how the track was laid out before we raced there."
Hill scored his career best finish of 11th at the difficult Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin last June which hosted one of the wildest and most controversial finishes to a race imaginable.
Hill now has his sights on scoring top-ten finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and running for Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. If Hill were to win a race in 2012, he would become the first driver from the state of Maryland to win a race since Elmo Langley drove in to victory lane at a NASCAR Grand National Series race at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia in 1966. According to NASCAR, Elmo Langley is the only driver from Maryland to win in any of NASCAR's three major divisions with both of his wins coming in 1966.
Since our interview with Timmy Hill has signed on to run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 with Rick Ware Racing. Hill will start competing full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at either Auto Club Speedway of Southern California or Texas Motor Speedway. He will drive the #37 Poynt.com car.
Donnie Neuenberger from Brandywine will also run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona. The NASCAR Nationwide Series, DRIVE4COPD 300 can be seen on ESPN on Saturday, February 25th at 12pm EST.
The entire NASCAR Nationwide Series can be seen on the networks of ESPN. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races will air on FOX, TNT and ESPN.
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