22 Feb Akinori Ogata returns to Truck competition at Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga. – Veteran racer Akinori Ogata (@AkinoriOgata) returns to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) trail this weekend at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway driving the No. 63 MB Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado for Saturday afternoon’s Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The Kanagawa, Japan native is set to embrace his seventh career NCWTS start and first since an appearance at Atlanta’s fast 1.5-mile speedway last March.
"I’m very thankful to be competing back in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," said Ogata who resides in Mooresville, N.C.
"I’m grateful to be back with Mike Mittler and MB Motorsports and look forward to a solid outing on Saturday afternoon."
Motorsports veteran Rick Ren will serve as crew chief for the second Truck Series race of the season.
Four of Ogata’s career Truck Series starts have come for the St. Louis-based MB Motorsports.
His career best Truck Series finish also came with the mainstay organization at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in his team debut in 2015.
Rewinding back to Atlanta last year, the 44-year-old drove for Beaver Motorsports, started 32nd but finished 30th after exiting the event due to an oil leak. This year, Ogata has high hopes for a better result.
"Even though I didn’t have the chance to run the entire race, the track time at Atlanta was priceless," he explained. "It’s a very sensitive track because of its worn surface. I’m relying on my team and crew chief to help me get into a comfortable and competitive rhythm, so we can make some gains during the race and have a solid finish."
Ogata’s efforts this weekend at Atlanta will be supported by Nisshinbo.
Nisshinbo Automotive Manufacturing Inc. (NAMI) is part of the Nisshinbo Group, consisting of 59 subsidiaries and 40 affiliates worldwide. Nisshinbo was established in 1907, when it was producing yarns and threads.
In the 1940s, Nisshinbo was called upon to manufacture automotive friction materials and developed a process using woven fabric embedded with friction material. As the automobile has evolved, so have Nisshinbo brakes and friction materials to serve diverse applications in the global transportation market. Nisshinbo continues the evolution with a library of more than one thousand different recipes, each specific to customer applications.
North American operations are dedicated facilities serving OEM transportation manufacturers in the NAFTA market. NAMI is Nisshinbo’s state-of-the-art facility located in Covington, Georgia.
Additionally, SEAVAC, a supplier of PVD coatings and other surface technologies will serve as an associate marketing partner for the 130-lap race.
"I’m very grateful to have Nisshinbo and SEAVAC support me this weekend at Atlanta," sounded Ogata. "We didn’t have the best result last year at Atlanta and I owe to both of them to see the checkered flag on Saturday afternoon to express my appreciation."
Ogata began his racing career in Japanese Motocross at age 14. After a decade of riding that included around 30 feature victories, he shifted to Dirt Midget Car racing, becoming a winning driver at Twin Ring Motegi.
Ogata’s assimilation to American racing began in 2003, driving Late Model Stock Cars at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway. He continued in Late Models after moving to the United States in 2010 and later graduated to the NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, where he competed in 12 races over three years, scoring five top-20 finishes.
Since graduating from the K&N Pro Series East, Ogata has competed in at least one Truck Series race since 2014.
For more on Akinori Ogata like his Facebook page (Akinori Ogata Racing) or follow him on Twitter @AkinoriOgata.
The Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (130 laps / 200.2 miles) is the second of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Feb. 23 from 2:00 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Feb. 24 beginning at 10:35 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 4:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90).
— Akinori Performance —