Hattori Racing Enterprises team owner Shige Hattori announced today that the defending NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship organization will reenter the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) on July 5th at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). HRE will field a Toyota Supra for the first time in the company’s history and will compete in the NXS for the first time since 2015. Austin Hill, who won the Gander Trucks season opener at DIS in his first start with the organization, will be behind the wheel with crew chief Scott Zipadelli calling the shots.
The team’s NXS return will come with support from longtime partner AISIN Group, Aisin AW, and ADVICS. Hill and HRE will utilize No. 61, a twist on the organization’s trademark No. 16. United Rentals will also be on board the No. 61 Toyota Supra, expanding on their relationship with Hill and HRE in the Gander Trucks.
“We’re very excited to return to the Xfinity Series,” Hattori said. “The Toyota Supra is extremely important to our partners and very popular in Japan and we want to be part of the Supra program in NASCAR. It’s exciting for our team to compete in the Xfinity Series at Daytona, especially after winning there earlier this year. Austin has done a good job in the truck so far and this will be good to get him more experience.”
Hill echoed Hattori’s sentiments and is relishing the chance to compete in a Toyota Supra.
“You always want to move up the ladder, and I can’t wait to get in the car,” Hill said. “I honestly never thought I’d have this opportunity. All thanks goes to Shige and AISIN Group. They’ve been working on this for a while and it’s a big deal for all of us to put a program together to race the Supra. We have a great team here, and it’s going to make the transition a lot smoother working with Scott (Zipadelli) and entire truck series team. We set the bar pretty high for ourselves at Daytona, so hopefully we can have the same success as we did in February.”
Hattori and HRE are currently pursuing additional NXS races to add to the schedule later this season.