Author: RWHill
• Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Abilene’s Randy Hill is driven to succeed, this time in


Racing dream closer to goal

By Steven Berkowsky

Abilene Reporter-News

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

He has a car. He has a driver. And most important, Randy Hill has a dream: NASCAR team owner.

The Abilene businessman, 43, who has interests in agriculture, trucking and real estate, will realize his dream next month when his No. 08 Ford Mustang, with 18-year-old Casey Roderick behind the wheel, takes the track at Watkins Glen International for the Nationwide Series race.

The race will put Hill one step closer to his goal of running a car in the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR’s highest level.

Along the way, Hill, an Abilene Christian University alum, said he has encountered nothing but helpful people in his dealings with NASCAR: From racing legend Richard Petty, who was happy to offer Hill advice and support, to Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan, who helped secure parts and equipment, to the Roush Racing Team, which sold Hill the car that Carl Edwards ran in last week’s Nationwide race in Iowa and which Hill’s team will race at Watkins Glen.

He also received support from NASCAR President Mike Helton, who has made Hill feel welcome at the sport’s highest level.

And Hill is going all-in, making the jump from the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Series, past NASCAR’s Truck Series directly to Nationwide, with an eye on the Sprint Cup Series.

“It’s really exciting. Such a neat, neat deal,” Hill said. “And I see just a huge opportunity in it.”

Some would say Hill is taking a costly gamble by making the move to NASCAR, which has suffered declining attendance and dwindling sponsorship as the economy has struggled.

But Hill, ever the entrepreneur, sees it as a gamble well worth taking, knowing success at racing’s highest level will attract sponsorship dollars, better cars and equipment, and will create bigger chances to succeed.

And Hill said he believes he has the team in place with Roderick behind the wheel and Jeff Spraker, a former NASCAR and ARCA driver with more than 30 years’ experience in the motor sports industry, leading his race team.

And Hill’s team did not disappoint in its debut. In their first ARCA race at the Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway last Saturday, Roderick and the RHR team finished a respectable 13th despite being plagued with mechanical problems.

“For the last 100 laps, every time Casey pitted, they had to push him down pit row to get enough momentum for him to fire up the horsepower and get going,” Hill said. “And he finished 13th.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Hill said. “After the race, Spraker was working on the car and I bent over and said ‘What do you think?’ And he said, ‘He’s a good driver. He’s a real good driver.’

“He asked me what I thought and I told him, ‘Man, I’m having the time of my life.’ He told me, ‘You haven’t seen nothing yet. You just wait until we’re racing in NASCAR, racing those big races.’ ”

Hill said his No. 08, which has been raced successfully by such notables as Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($162,000 won in 1999), Joe Nemechek ($2.4 million in 2007), and most recently Johnny Sauter, carried little significance beyond looking good on the car.

“(No.) 08 just looked good to me,” Hill said. “I wanted something lower down. There’s just something in the mind that if you’ve got a lower number, it just seems that you’ve been in it longer.”

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