Sergio Pena will be behind the wheel of the # 1 Toyota Camry for Hattori Racing Enterprises for the 2012 NASCAR K & N Pro Series East.
Pena, an 18-year old Winchester, VA native will enter his 3rd season on the K & N Pro Series East in 2012, his first two were as part of the NASCAR Diversity Program. Pena made the racing world take notice in his NASCAR debut at the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in 2010 when he beat Sprint Cup veteran Joey Logano for the pole award and finished 2nd in the event - his first time in a K & N Pro Series car. Last season, in just 12 races, he scored three wins, seven top-10 finishes and finished 5th in the series point standings.
“I am so excited for this opportunity,” stated Pena, a current Radford University freshman. “I couldn’t be more thankful to Shige and the best group of guys behind me such as Matt Goslant and Andy Santerre. We all work together very well and with them behind me, I know we will definitely be one of the teams to beat this year.”
Pena will be driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises. Formed in 2005, this will be the first year they have competed full-time on a NASCAR touring series. Owner, Shigeaki Hattori is a Championship-winning former racer. He earned the Formula Toyota title in 1994 and competed in the Indy Racing League’s Indy Lights and IndyCar Series. He also competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Born in Okayama, Japan, Hattori currently resides in Cornelius, NC and knows what it takes to win. “People in an organization are the key to the organization’s success . If you hire the right people with knowledge and experience, success will follow,” explains Hattori.
Setting the foundation for Hattori Racing Enterprises are four-time NASCAR K & N Pro Series Champion Andy Santerre, who will manage the race team and Championship-winning Crew Chief, Matt Goslant. Goslant and Pena were a team last season where Pena won three of 12 races, scored seven top-10 finishes and finished 5th in the series point standings.
“I am excited to be working with Sergio again this season,” Said Northfield, VT native, Goslant. “He has the talent to be a champion and we are a good team together. We communicate well and he trusts me to put the car under him. He gives me 100% and I could not ask for anything more in a driver.”
HRE will field Toyota Camry’s with manufacturer backing from Toyota Racing Development . “We are thrilled to have Toyota on board,” stated Hattori, who has had a long-standing relationship with the brand. “Toyota cars won every race in the series last year and I don’t expect this season to be any different.”
HRE is located in a state-of-the-art building owned by Germain Racing in Mooresville, NC and was designed by Hattori so he could continue to enjoy American stock car racing while developing young, talented drivers.