HRE announced the news on Tuesday, November 30, with a press release. The team confirmed that Purdy will drive the No. 61 Toyota Tundra Pro while pursuing his first career win. He will work with longtime partner BAMA Buggies while making his return to Toyota for the first time since 2018.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the HRE team,” Purdy said in a statement. “They have consistently won races and been a weekly contender for the last several years. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to race with this group in 2022.”
Hattori Racing Enterprises will provide further information about Purdy’s debut season, such as his crew chief, as the trip to Daytona International Speedway approaches.
Purdy Made His Rookie Debut With a Different Organization
A graduate of the NASCAR Next program, Purdy entered the 2021 season with nine career Truck Series starts to his name. He added to these numbers while running full-time with GMS Racing.
Purdy made 21 of the 22 starts for GMS while driving the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado. The only race that he missed was the trip to Watkins Glen International after he tested positive for COVID-19. AJ Allmendinger replaced him in the No. 23 Chevrolet and finished 27th at the road course.
Purdy posted two top-10 finishes during his rookie season — sixth at World Wide Technology Raceway and ninth at Talladega Superspeedway — along with an average finish of 22.6. Now he will move to a different organization and strive to turn in a better season as a sophomore.
Another Driver Could Join HRE for 2022
The championship-winning organization provided some clarity about the future by announcing Purdy as the new driver, but there may be more updates on the way. The team revealed that the former GMS Racing driver will control the No. 61 but did not confirm if this entry will replace the No. 16 that Austin Hill drove during his three seasons with the team.
According to Kelly Crandall of Racer, HRE could announce a second driver addition as early as Wednesday, December 1. She did not reveal the identity of Purdy’s potential teammate, but she said that Tyler Ankrum is a name that she has “heard a lot.”
Ankrum spent the 2021 season as a teammate of Purdy at GMS Racing. He drove the No. 26 Chevrolet Silverado for all 22 races and posted five top-10 finishes and three top-fives. Ankrum also spent the 2020 season with GMS, accumulating 10 top-10s and three top-fives.
GMS President Mike Beam created doubts about Ankrum’s return to the team on October 1. He spoke to Frontstretch and said that he thought Ankrum was “going to go do something else” after he failed to make the playoffs. Beam added that Purdy and his partners remained undecided about the 2022 season.
Two months later, it appears that neither driver will return to GMS Racing. Purdy will control the No. 61 Toyota Tundra Pro for Hattori Racing Enterprises, and Ankrum could potentially join him while taking over the No. 16. Though HRE will first have to provide this confirmation.