Trey Hutchens represents a different type of racer, one that is more old-school and isn’t seen in NASCAR’s National Series very often these days. Trey, with help from his father Bobby, are currently fielding the No. 14 Chevrolet Silverado part-time in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series from a 40-year-old shop behind his grandmother’s house, a shop that doesn’t even have a surface plate in it.
“Dad and I do all the work on the truck, we have no employees,” Hutchens said in an interview with TobyChristie.com. “Dad jokes all the time when I am doing school work that 50% of the team’s workforce is gone.”
The number on Hutchens’ truck is one that means a lot to the 22-year-old, as the number has been in the Hutchens family since they started racing modifieds with the No. 14 on them at Bowman Gray Stadium 60 years ago.
However, the NASCAR Truck Series isn’t where it all began for the Lexington, North Carolina-native in NASCAR. In 2013 at 15 years old, Hutchens broke onto the scene of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – now known as the ARCA Menards Series East — running three races that season in three different cars, one of which resulted in a top-10 finish at Dover.
Hutchens would run six part-time seasons in the series, from 2013 to 2018, scoring six top-10 finishes in 33 starts. The 22-year-old was consistently beating drivers like Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece and Cole Custer while driving in equipment that wasn’t as highly funded.
In situations like these, where you have proven that you can hold your own despite being at a disadvantage, it’s hard to not let your mind wander into “what could have been” or “what if”, especially when the drivers you held your own against have won multiple times in NASCAR’s top-three series. Hutchens admits that he has had those thoughts of “what if” before, but tries not to focus too much on it because it’s out of his control.
“I could sit here and tell you no, but I’d be lying,” Hutchens said. “There is a lot of what if this happened or what if that happened, but I truthfully try not to focus on it. I try to focus on the things I can control and really the only thing I can control is what I do, how I prepare, how I approach a day, and ultimately that No. 14 truck.”
“It’s tough to see people you race with continue to progress and sometimes I’m not sure when I’m going to get to the race track again, but I can’t complain about that when there are really only 150 people who can say they race in a [NASCAR National Series]. All I can really do is be ready and hope the phone rings.”
One of the main issues for Trey Hutchens Racing, much like a lot of other teams across NASCAR’s National and Regional Series is the amount of financial backing one has in their corner, a figure which is not as extravagant for Trey Hutchens Racing as it is for some of the larger teams in the NASCAR Truck Series. “Dad and I are racers at heart. Anything it feels like it makes sense to race, we are going to. Unfortunately, from a financial standpoint, that isn’t as often as we would like too.”
Trey Hutchens Racing has attempted to qualify in four races this season, while only taking the green flag in two races in the summer after being excluded by points for the series’ races at Charlotte and Atlanta. In the No. 14’s two starts this season at Kentucky and Michigan, resulting in finishes of 31st and 29th. At Michigan, Hutchens was on pace to finish inside the top-20 with two laps to go, before a late-race scuffle relegated the No. 14 Silverado to a 29th-place finish, and prevented the team from returning to the series at Darlington Raceway as they had planned.
The team is hoping to return for an additional event this season at Texas Motor Speedway (October 25th), but Hutchens says that the team is still looking for funding to make it possible and will have to make a final decision closer to the date of the event. With only one truck and one motor in their inventory, it is important for the team to enter races where they feel the team can succeed and not have any damage to the truck or engine.
Author’s Note: At the time of the interview, Hutchens also planned to enter the No. 14 Chevrolet Silverado in the Clean Harbors 200 at Kansas Speedway on October 17th, but sent a note to TobyChristie.com on Thursday Morning (October 8th) that the team would be unable to enter the event because of funding issues.
“Our plan originally for the year was four to five races, with no exact schedule, largely due to having one truck and me being in school at NC State, trying to race when it made sense for my academic schedule. The races we highlighted were Charlotte, a few in the summer – Kentucky and Michigan — and others that were closer to home.”
Despite having multiple races circled on the calendar for the team’s 2020 NASCAR Truck Series campaign, the schedule realignment that occurred because of the COVID-19 shutdown didn’t change the decision-making process of which races the team would enter the truck.
In the distant future, Hutchens would love to be in a position to go full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series, and he thinks that him and his father would be capable of doing so, but says “some pretty big stars would have to align for that to happen.” As for next season, the team will aim to run anywhere from eight to twelve races, but will need some additional funding in order to purchase additional trucks and to prevent situations like Michigan from happening again.
Recently, Hutchens announced his partnership with Shelby Park Marketing, a sports marketing company who provides branding, sponsorship, talent management, digital marketing and business development services to various drivers, teams and racing related organizations such as Niece Motorsports, Jordan Anderson, Mark Smith and Ty Majeski.
Please welcome @TreyHutchens as the newest addition to the Shelby Park team.
Currently running in the @NASCAR_Trucks, he is the former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour “Rookie of the Year” and (2x) “Most Popular Driver.”
We're pleased to have ya' Trey! pic.twitter.com/qa8sSa7Zsx
— Shelby Park Marketing (@shelbypark1M) September 18, 2020
The NC State Engineering student is excited about the partnership with Shelby Park Marketing and is hopeful that the company can help to build Trey Hutchens Racing into a stronger NASCAR Truck Series organization in many ways, both on and off the race track.
While Hutchens has been the only driver to run for Trey Hutchens Racing at this time, he didn’t rule out the option of bringing a funded driver on board, saying: “That is something that Dad and I have never done before, but something we have discussed. So I won’t put that possibility off the table – our ultimate goal is to grow our truck program.”
As of now, the team is still looking for the funding to run the NASCAR Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 25th, as well as multiple races throughout the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.