NASCAR championship-winning team to make first start of 2024

Hattori Racing Enterprises are set to return to the NASCAR Truck Series for their first start of the 2024 season this Saturday at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Hattori Racing Enterprises, NASCAR Truck Series
Hattori Racing Enterprises, NASCAR Truck Series / Robert Laberge/GettyImages

After competing full-time in the NASAR Truck Series from 2017 to 2023, Hattori Racing Enterprises scaled back their operation ahead of the 2024 season.

The team's owner points for the No. 16 Toyota were bought by Reaume Brothers Racing, and they announced that they would not be competing in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Skip ahead three months later, and the 2018 championship-winning team have yet to make a single appearance in the Truck Series this season.

Hattori Racing Enterprises set for NASCAR Truck Series return

But that is set to change this weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway, and it is set to change with a driver who himself has competed at NASCAR's third highest level in more than a decade.

Aric Almirola, who is currently competing part-time in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, is set to make his first Truck Series start since November 2012 in this Saturday afternoon's Wright Brand 250 at the four-turn, 0.625-mile (1.006-kilometer) North Wilkesboro, North Carolina oval. The 40-year-old Ford Walton Beach, Florida native is set to pilot the No. 16 Toyota in this 250-lap race.

No further race plans for the No. 16 Toyota have been confirmed by Hattori Racing Enterprises beyond the Wright Brand 250.

Almirola, who owns two career Truck Series victories (both in 2010 with Billy Ballew Motorsports), has made five Xfinity Series starts so far this season, including at Martinsville Speedway in April when he found victory lane. He is set to continue to make select appearances for Joe Gibbs' team in that series throughout the remainder of the 2024 season.

Hattori Racing Enterprises have earned 14 Truck Series victories, the most recent of which coming with Austin Hill behind the wheel of the No. 16 Toyota at Watkins Glen International in 2021.

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Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET this Saturday, May 18 for the live broadcast of the Wright Brand 250 from North Wilkesboro Speedway. Start a free trial of FuboTV today if you have not already done so!