Akinori Ogata will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for a seventh part-time season. On Monday, the Japanese driver announced he has reunited with Reaume Brothers Racing for a limited slate beginning with the 20 March race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I’m excited to announcement that KYOWA Industrial will return to my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2021,” he posted on social media. “My first race will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th. I am going to a limited schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Reaume Brothers Racing. More details will be released later. Stay tuned!”
Hailing from Kanagawa, Ogata has competed part-time in the Truck Series since 2014. In nine career Truck starts, his best finish is eighteenth at New Hampshire in 2015 for the now-shuttered MB Motorsports. After not running any events in 2019, he joined RBR for the 2020 Texas summer race and Phoenix season finale, respectively finishing twenty-fifth and thirtieth.
Ogata also has twelve starts in what is now the ARCA Menards Series East between 2012 and 2014 with a highest run of fifteenth at Gresham Motorsports Park in 2012. He made his NASCAR Xfinity Series début at the fall Phoenix race—when it was still the penultimate race of the season—in 2018, where he finished thirty-third for MBM Motorsports. He also competes in late models.
As he noted in his announcement, KYOWA Industrial, which sponsored Ogata’s truck at Texas, will return for 2021. All of Ogata’s Truck starts have come with support from Japanese companies, such as oil company ENEOS, electronic and brake manufacturer Nisshinbo, and Shinano Pneumatic Tools.
Japanese drivers are fairly rare in NASCAR’s national series, with Hideo Fukuyama being the first (and, to date, only) driver to compete in the top-flight Cup Series in 2002 and 2003, while some competed in the series’ exhibition races in Japan in the late 1990s. Ogata is the third driver from the country to race in the Truck Series after Kenji Momota and Shigeaki Hattori; Momota competed in the series’ inaugural season in 1995, while Hattori ran part of the 2005 season and currently owns the Truck team Hattori Racing Enterprises. Kyle Larson, who won Sunday’s Cup race, is of Japanese descent.
Reaume Brothers Racing field two trucks for a variety of drivers. Across the first three races, the #33 has been split between Jason White and Jesse Iwuji, while the #34 has seen Iwuji, Lawless Alan, and B.J. McLeod as pilots. Jake Griffin and Keith McGee are also slated to make starts in the dirt races and at Richmond in April, respectively. Incidentally, the team’s Xfinity programme has an alliance with MBM to operate the #13.