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Ryan Truex Exceeding Expectations Despite Missing Playoffs

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When smaller teams compete in NASCAR, they define success differently than the top organizations.

Winning is the ultimate goal, but those with smaller budgets are working towards finishing in the top-five, leading laps, and competing for victories.

Ryan Truex and Hattori Racing Enterprises have accomplished these objectives so far in 2017.

The 25-year-old captured six top-fives, ten top-10’s, and led 86 laps in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season. He’s also consistently raced up front and contended for wins on numerous occasions.

He had one of his best performances yet during Friday night’s TheHouse.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway after winning the pole and dominating Stage 1 before ultimately settling for fourth-place.

A night like this in any other race would have marked another impressive run for the No. 16 team. However, with a spot in the Playoffs on the line, he came up one position short.

Truex ended the night tied with Ben Rhodes for the final spot, but because Rhodes had a better season-best finish with a second-place at Pocono, he won the tiebreaker.

Racing often comes down to the smallest margins on the track, and when Rhodes finished second, he beat Truex by a quarter of an inch.

While that finish in August ultimately decided Truex’s Playoff fate, it won’t define how his season has unfolded.

Before Truex began competing for Hattori Racing Enterprises, they weren’t very well-known after making limited starts in the sport with numerous drivers. 

The team has made significant strides with Truex behind the wheel and experienced crew chief Scott Zipadelli in charge, placing the organization in the conversation.

Truex admitted that they might not have the same speed as the top trucks; however, being able to run with them says a lot about the No. 16 team. 

Missing the Playoffs isn’t something to dwell in the team’s first full-time season. A victory is well within reach and winning one of the final seven races would be a fitting way to end a breakout year for Hattori and Truex.

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Jason Schultz

Jason Schultz aspires to enter the public relations field of NASCAR. Schultz, 19, attends UNC Charlotte and is a communication studies major with a focus in public relations. In addition to contributing to POPULAR SPEED, Schultz produces podcasts for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Radio. He also completed a semester as a social media intern at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each year, he volunteers as the social media correspondent for Autism Delaware's Drive for Autism golf tournament featuring NASCAR personalities and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover.