Just one week ago, the NASCAR world was rocked when Ryan Truex, coming off his best season, lost his ride because of a lack of sponsorship with his Camping World Truck Series team, Hattori Racing.
How things change, fast.
Kaulig Racing, in a press release, announced that it has hired Truex to drive the No. 11 Chevrolet for the full 2018 XFinity series. So not only does Truex get a ride, but he gets a ride in a series that's just one step away from the top tier series in NASCAR.
"I'm extremely excited to be making the move back into the Xfinity Series," Truex said in the release. "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."
While it's good news for Truex, it's bad news for Blake Koch, who lost his ride. On SiriusXM, he said he wasn't surprised by the move, and wished his former team well.
Mike Greci of Hattori Racing, in an interview, said the decision to part ways with Truex -- the brother of Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. -- came down to money.
Some of the sponsors Truex had in 2017 weren't willing to do what it would take to run in 2018.
"It's an expensive series to race at and where we were at with Ryan we were looking through his sponsors," Greci said. "They put a great deal of effort into this first year here in 2017 which was a big part of our success with their funding.
"Looking at it going forward dealing with Ryan's sponsors and I don't want to get into their particular names because it's not fair," Greci added. "But they decided they weren't going to be able to continue the funding that we needed to go forward."
In the midst of off-season expansion, Kaulig Racing™ announced today that Ryan Truex will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet for the full 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. Truex is coming off a ninth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver standings. The younger brother of current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) champion Martin Truex Jr. also has two back-to-back NASCAR K&N East Series Championships as well as multiple years of experience in NASCAR's premiere series.
"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."
Two years after breaking into the NXS, team owner Matt Kaulig is excited about his team's fast-paced growth in the sport. With back-to-back playoff runs as well as two stage wins and one pole award in the team's short history, Kaulig sees promising opportunities for this season with Truex behind the wheel.
"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. 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."
Truex will make his debut for Kaulig Racing at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday February 17 th, 2018. A sponsor announcement regarding Truex will be made shortly.