Ryan Truex must step away from "best team" in his NASCAR career
Not since winning back-to-back championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2009 and 2010 has Ryan Truex had the opportunity to compete fulltime in a NASCAR national series ride.
It looked like that would change this season when a last-minute deal came together for Truex to compete in the Truck Series with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
Despite a second-place finish in the series opener at Daytona and his sixth-place rank in the series standings, Truex will miss the next two Truck races as HRE is partnering with Rette Jones Racing to put Jesse Little behind the wheel of the No. 81 Toyota.
“Shige Hattori (team owner) told me he didn’t know if we’d be able to run the full season, but then we didn’t expect to run second at Daytona and this deep in the season be top-six in points,” Truex told Motorsport.com Wednesday night.
“I think the start of the year took us a little bit by surprise. I knew I could do it as a driver, it just took the right combo with me, the team and the trucks and everything. It’s amazing when you consider we have had about three trucks in the shop this season.
Potential Chase berth spoiled
“It’s disappointing knowing I’m in the top-eight right now, which would get me in the Chase. This is probably the best team I’ve had in my career on the national level, really the only time I’ve had the chance to run the first quarter of a season and show what I can do.”
Although Truex, the 24-year-old younger brother of Sprint Cup Series star Martin Truex Jr., is expecting to sit out this weekend at Texas and next week at Iowa, he will remain with the Hattori organization.
The plan now is for Truex to return to the No. 81 for the June 25 race at Gateway International Raceway and tentatively run the majority of the remainder of the season.
Truex said he gave some thought to at least getting in a start-and-park Truck ride this week just to maintain his eligibility for the Chase, but nothing materialized that he was able to put together at the last minute.
“It’s tough. Like I said, I haven’t had a shot yet in my career to run fulltime in any of the national series for a championship. I felt like this was my best shot so far,” Truex said. “I feel like I am going to keep getting shots like this.
“Hopefully with how I’ve run, I’ve opened some eyes and hopefully it turns into bigger and better things. It’s tough not being there but we’re still moving forward. I still have a home and I still have the same group of guys I’ll be racing with.”
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