Mooresville, NC (02-02-2009) - As the ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway approaches, Hattori Racing Enterprises is poised to continue its tradition of showcasing outstanding young stock car racing talent. In the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009, HRE will present last year's Daytona race winner, Michael Annett, in the No. 01 Yokoso! Japan Toyota Camry.
In last year's season opener, Annett led 32 of 80 laps en route to collecting his second superspeedway victory in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Team owner Shigeaki Hattori hopes that with the high-powered equipment of HRE and Annett's winning ways, the Yokoso! Japan Camry will capture the attention of many race fans and attract them to learn more about the arts and adventures available to visitors in Japan.
"While I have enjoyed learning America's racing culture over the last 15 years, it is true that I realize how wonderful Japan is," said team owner Shigeaki Hattori, who hails from Okayama, Japan. "I am honored to be part of Japan's tourism campaign to invite others to enjoy the heritage, adventure, arts and indulgences of my home country. This is the first time the Japanese government has used auto racing to advertise. Daytona is the most famous track in stock car racing. To bring home a victory from Daytona would certainly bring lots of attention to the Yokoso! Japan, or Visit Japan, campaign. Helping bring more tourists to Japan would be as special to me as adding a Daytona victory to our race team's accomplishments."
The literal translation of "Yokoso! Japan" is "Welcome to Japan" which is part of the Japanese National Tourism Organization's "Visit Japan" campaign aimed at attracting Americans to visit Japan's enchanting chain of islands. Helping Hattori with his efforts to draw visitors to http://www.japantravelinfo.com/, is famed contemporary Japanese artist Hajime Tsutsui of Tokyo.
"The Yokoso! Japan Camry was custom-designed by my long-time friend, Hajime Tsutsui. This is very big news in Japan because Hajime's work is very popular and he has never designed a race car before. So, this is a first for the Japanese government and for Hajime Tsutsui to be involved in auto racing," said Hattori. "The unique car design represents contemporary Japanese art and two important pieces of Japan's natural beauty, the cherry blossom and Mount Fuji. We are confident we will have a very competitive effort for the Daytona race which will draw attention to the artwork on the No. 01 Yokoso! Japan Camry. Race fans can see even more Japanese art at japantravelinfo.com, along with many, many more reasons they should plan a trip to ‘Visit Japan.'"
Hattori, a former IndyCar and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racer, formed Hattori Racing Enterprises, HRE, out of his love for American auto racing. He and his sponsorship base which includes IOI and the Japanese National Tourism Organization, are working together to develop young racing talent. HRE has a working partnership with Germain Racing, sharing in Germain's championship-winning experience and long-standing relationship with Toyota.
Driver Michael Annett brought Toyota its first win in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Talladega in 2007. In 2008, he also collected victory for Toyota in ARCA at the premier event, Daytona. In addition to racing at the Daytona season opener for HRE, Annett is slated to compete full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Germain Racing.
HRE competed in 2008 at Rockingham,Kentucky Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Salem Raceway and DuQuoin. The team earned a SIM Factory Pole Award, led laps in 5 of 8 races and collected a runner-up finish at Kentucky Speedway and a top-five finish at Salem Raceway. Hattori is working to finalize his racing schedule for 2009, which he hopes will feature a full season of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition.
For more information on how you can join the sponsor lineup at HRE, contact: mailto:email@example.com.