By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Recently, Shigeaki Hattori moved his Hattori Racing Enterprises team to a new race shop. When the move was announced, Hattori stated that his No. 81 Toyota Tundra would compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
With the move from a shop next to Germain Racing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team to the shop that once housed Rusty Wallace Racing nearing completion, Hattori named the driver of his Toyota Tundra as Ryan Truex.
Truex piloted the No. 81 Toyota Tundra in 15 races for Hattori in 2016. After competing in the first six races and looking as if they were in a position to make the first-ever NCWTS Chase, sponsorship ran out. This forced Truex to sit out the next two races at Iowa Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
This will be Truex’s first full-time ride in NASCAR’s National Series. He attempted to compete full-time in the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. However, the relationship between Truex and his team ended about midway through the 2014 season.
Since winning back-to-back NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championships in 2009 and 2010, Truex, the younger brother of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr., has bounced from team to team.
Truex’s return to Hattori Racing Enterprises also reunites him with Mike Greci who was the crew chief of his NASCAR K&N Pro East Series Championship seasons. Hattori confirmed that Greci would be the team’s new general manager. An announcement on who will be Truex’s crew chief in 2017 will come at a later date.
Hattori also stated that no less than 10 partners will rotate sponsorship duties throughout the season. These partners will be announced soon.
Truex scored two top fives in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. This included a second place finish at Dover International Speedway where he started from the pole in 2012. He also has nine Top 10s in his Xfinity Series career, eight with Joe Gibbs Racing, and one with Michael Waltrip Racing.
In the NCWTS, Truex, a native of Mayetta, New Jersey has two top fives and six Top 10s.
Truex will now take this opportunity and look forward to the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.