By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
Less than a week after news broke that he would not be returning to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Hattori Racing, Ryan Truex has landed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the upcoming 2018 season.
On Tuesday, Kaulig Racing announced that Truex would be joining the team to take over their No. 11 Chevrolet on a full-time basis.
“I’m extremely excited to be making the move back into the Xfinity Series,” said Truex. “In just two years Kaulig Racing has proved to be a highly competitive team each race and it should be a great fit. Last season I saw a lot of improvements in my racing and hopefully this year I can continue the success Kaulig Racing has built and compete for the championship at the end of the year.”
Though Truex has yet to find his way to victory lane in any of the top-three NASCAR series, he has experience in the Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup Series dating back to 2010. The majority of his success has come in the Truck Series, where he has scored 10 top-five finishes, 19 top-10 finishes, and two poles in 42 starts. Driving full-time in the series last year, Truex finished ninth in points.
He has found success in the Xfinity Series as well, bringing home two top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes, and one pole in 39 starts. Truex is also a two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, with five wins in that series.
“When we started this team two years ago I knew we had the potential to be one of the strongest teams in the Xfinity Series and I think we’re within reach of that goal,” said team owner Matt Kaulig. “Ryan is going to be a great addition to the team and I have some high hopes for this season. Each year we keep improving as a team and I think this season we’ll be able to get some wins and make another run in the playoffs. Everyone at Kaulig Racing is excited to have Ryan on board and it should be a great, fun year.”
With Truex taking over the No. 11 car, that leaves Blake Koch, who had driven for the team in its first two years of existence on the outside looking in after 10 top-10 finishes and one pole.
“Everyone kind of knows me for being happy and smiling and positive attitude and that’s not going to change,” said Koch in an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio shortly after the news broke. “I’m still very excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last couple of years. Matt Kaulig and myself are still great friends. Everybody at Kaulig Racing is all on good terms.
“First off, I’m just so appreciative of everything that Leaf Filter has done for me over the past two years. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead, just have to figure that out. Definitely not going to be sitting on the couch waiting; I’m going to go out and hustle and find some sponsors. That’s the key; you’ve got to find sponsorship. So I’m going to go get that done and get back in a race car.”