Hattori Racing Enterprises has hired a new team manager as part of the expansion to two entries for the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The championship-winning organization has hired the former Xfinity Series shop manager at Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt Lucas, to take on multiple roles.
HRE issued a press release on Wednesday, December 22, announcing the news. The team confirmed that Lucas will begin his role as team manager, effective immediately, while also preparing to serve as crew chief for Chase Purdy. He will guide the No. 61’s driver as Purdy takes on his first full-time season with the organization.
“Matt has a lot of experience that can help our team as we grow, and I’m excited to have him here,” said owner Shige Hattori in a statement. “JGR has been a great example for all other teams in the Xfinity Series for a long time, and Matt had a lot to do with their success over the years. He’s been an engineer, manager, and crew chief, and can impact several areas of our team. He’ll be able to help our organization and both Tyler (Ankrum) and especially Chase (Purdy) with his experience and knowledge.”
Lucas Brings Extensive Experience to the Role
Lucas has no shortage of experience that will benefit Purdy during the 2022 Camping World Truck Series season. He has served as a crew chief for 104 races while working with Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace, and many others. He also contributed to winning teams as an engineer and shop manager.
Lucas has two wins on his resume from the 2013 Xfinity Series season. He partnered with Kenseth for wins at Daytona International Speedway (July 5, 2013) and Kansas Speedway (October 5, 2013). Kenseth only started 16 of the 33 races while running full-time in the Cup Series.
“I’ve been impressed with Shige’s vision for this organization and look forward to being a part of it,” Lucas said in a statement. “Scott Zipadelli and all the people on the No. 16 team have accomplished so much in the last few years and we want to continue that success with expanding to a second program. HRE has been successful because of the people and team members here, and we’ll need more of that in 2022 and beyond. I’m excited to help guide the expansion of this team and continue to uphold the high standard that HRE has been accustomed to.”
Along with guiding Kenseth to two wins, Lucas has been part of five championships. He was an engineer at Roush when Carl Edwards won his 2007 Xfinity Series championship, and he served in the same role in 2010 when JGR won the 2010 Xfinity Series owners’ title.
Lucas was part of three other championships at JGR. He shared the crew chief duties in 2012 when the organization won another owners’ title, and he served as a shop manager when Daniel Suarez (2016) and Daniel Hemric (2021) each won their respective championships.
HRE Will Focus on 2 Teams in 2022
HRE has only fielded one entry in the Truck Series since first going full-time in 2017. Ryan Truex ran all 23 races after a part-time schedule in 2016 and then Brett Moffitt took over for his championship season in 2018. Austin Hill replaced Moffitt in 2019 and served as the team’s only driver until the end of the 2021 season.
With Hill moving up to the Xfinity Series and joining Richard Childress Racing, HRE will now embark on a new era. The team will field two full-time entries for the first time in organization history.
Purdy, a former GMS Racing driver, will control the No. 61 while working with Lucas as his crew chief. Tyler Ankrum, who also drove for GMS Racing in 2021, will join Purdy at HRE and will replace Hill in the No. 16. Ankrum will work with crew chief Scott Zipadelli, who guided Moffitt to a championship title and Hill to eight wins in three seasons.