Hattori Racing returns, Truex out for 2018

Russell LaBounty/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) announced late Thursday that they will return in 2018 on a full-time basis for the second year in a row in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. However, the organization also announced that Ryan Truex would not return.

For the 2018 season, HRE has upgraded their Toyota Tundra fleet and have received additional support from Toyota Racing Development.

“The biggest improvement for 2018 is the people,” team owner Shige Hattori said. “Unlike last season, (crew chief) Scott Zipadelli is already here and coming back along with our truck chief.

“We’ve invested in some new crew members at the shop and believe the changes will allow us to be more efficient and bring in new ideas to elevate this race team’s performance.”

The organization is hopeful they will improve on their 2017 season statistics of two pole positions, eight top-five’s, and 13 top-10 finishes.

“Our initial goal this year is to get to victory lane and win our first race,” Hattori said. “We want to make the playoff field and win a championship. We made good progress in the middle of last season by building a new truck, and we’re applying everything we learned to the new Tundras that we have added to our fleet.

“We’re going to be even better prepared in 2018 with a larger inventory of updated trucks and support from TRD to win races and compete for the championship.”

Although they are excited about the upgraded fleet, the organization came to the difficult decision to part ways with Truex.

“It’s difficult to move on after the effort Ryan (Truex) put in and everything he did to grow our program to where it is now. I’ve worked with the Truex family for many years, but we had to make the best decision possible for everyone at HRE. We truly wish him nothing but success moving forward,” said Mike Greci, competition director at HRE. “We’re looking forward to getting our lineup announced and head to Daytona (International Speedway) and win some races this season.”

Driver and sponsorship will be announced at a later date.

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