After best season yet, Ryan Truex now looking for a job
After leading Hattori Racing Enterprises to its most successful season, the organization announced on Thursday that its driver, Ryan Truex, will not return to the team in 2018.
Truex, the younger brother of 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., finished a career-best ninth in the Camping World Truck Series standings in 2017.
Truex won two poles and finished with eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes, including a career-best-tying second at New Hampshire.
Truex has not yet responded to a request for comment.
HRE said it plans to again run the entire schedule this year with an upgraded fleet of Toyota Tundras and support from Toyota Racing Development.
“The biggest improvement for 2018 is the people,” team owner Shige Hattori said in a statement. “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.”
Hattori said the No. 1 goal this year will be to win.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
HRE competition director, Mike Greci, said it was “difficult to move on” with all Truex did to help grow the organization.
“I’ve worked with the Truex family for many years, but we had to make the best decision possible for everyone at HRE,” he said.
“We truly wish him nothing but success moving forward. We’re looking forward to getting our lineup announced and head to Daytona (International Speedway) and win some races this season.”
The team will announce its driver and sponsors at a later date.
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