Hailie Deegan opened a four-race weekend in Las Vegas for Toyota with a victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, while Kyle Busch was first to the checkered flag in the Truck and Xfinity Series.
The Toyota Supra also had a big weekend, debuting as the pace car in the XFINITY Series in addition to recording its second-consecutive race win on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) season-opener, Deegan continued to write the record books after winning at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Deegan made a thrilling last-lap pass to win her second NKNPSW event.
"In the end we wouldn't have caught him if it weren't for the lapped cars," Deegan said. "They got in his way. If I was him, I'd be mad. But some people’s losses are other people’s wins and we ended up getting it done. I knew what we had to do to win. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap again and we made it happen."
With the win, she became the first female to lead the championship point standings in a NASCAR national or regional series.
The following day, Busch continued his winning ways in the Truck Series in Las Vegas, capturing his second-consecutive series victory after becoming the winningest driver in series history last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch led 110 laps (of 134) during the Friday night race.
“Overall, a great night and hopefully the hometown crowd, all the folks from Las Vegas here enjoyed the show and maybe it was a little bit reminiscent of the Legend car days over there at the Bullring, but it’s all good for us here in victory lane,” Busch said in his post-race interview.
Toyota teammate Harrison Burton (fifth) posted his first top-five finish in 2019, while Tundra drivers Todd Gilliland (seventh) and Ryan Reed (ninth) also posted top-10 finishes.
But Busch didn’t stop there. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race on Saturday, Busch overcame a loose wheel and went one lap down before going on to win his 93rd career-series victory. After pitting early due to a loose wheel in Stage One, Busch went on to race his way back through the field and take the lead.
“I knew to keep fighting and keep working. It was early enough where you could try to come back from one of those kind of setbacks,” Busch said. “It’s cool to be able to back up Christopher’s (Bell) win last week and get the Supra back to Victory lane with me in it.”
Fellow Toyota teammates Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones were strong all day, running in the top 10 before being caught in incidents at the end of the race. Bell went on to finish 13th and Jones finished 28th. Bell continues to lead the series standings with Jones in fourth.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) closed out the weekend, running its second race with the new 2019 rules package on Sunday afternoon with Busch (third) as the highest-finishing Toyota driver.
After winning the Truck and Xfinity Series races earlier in the weekend, Busch came up just shy of sweeping all three national series races. Busch led 13 laps early in the race, but a pit road speeding penalty on lap 129 forced him to the back of the field where he battled back to finish third.
“If we didn’t have the speeding penalty on pit road, we would have won this race,” Busch said. “The guys gave me a great piece and we were certainly fast there at the end.”
Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (10th) also finished in the top 10.
NASCAR continues its western swing as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series travel to ISM Speedway in Arizona on March 9 and 10. The Xfinity Series will compete on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on FS1, while the NASCAR Cup Series race takes place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. On the East Coast, the ARCA Racing Series returns to action, competing at Five Flag Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on March 9. The race starts at 7 p.m. ET on MAVTV. Midget racing is also in action with USAC Racing at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Illinois, on March 9.
Leigh Anne Sessions
Lisa Hughes Kennedy