DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 9, 2018) – Following a special announcement that declared the Toyota Supra will debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series starting in 2019, Erik Jones won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Saturday night at Daytona, as Toyota won in NASCAR, ARCA and POWRi action.
Erik Jones captured his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) victory at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night, giving Toyota three drivers positioned in the 2018 Playoff field.
Jones is the 12th Camry driver to win in the MENCS since Toyota entered the series in 2007 and became the third Toyota driver to win in the Cup Series at Daytona, joining Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
“What a day,” said Jones. “I didn’t think we were going to have a shot to win this one about halfway. We got ourselves back into contention and our guys did a great job getting this thing fixed up and getting the buyatoyota.com into Victory Lane. I’ve never been that good on superspeedways and never thought this was our shot to win. But to get here tonight, that’s pretty awesome. It’s our first win and not much that has felt better than this one.”
The victory was Toyota’s ninth Cup Series win this season as Toyota drivers have now won three-consecutive MENCS races and five-of-the-last-six races with a combined nine victories this season. Martin Truex Jr. would finish directly behind Jones to score his 12th top-five in 18 races this season.
Christopher Bell was Toyota’s highest-finishing Camry driver in Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at Daytona to give Bell his ninth top-five finish in 16 races this season. Bell’s third-place result was his career-best Daytona finish.
Prior to Friday’s Xfinity Series contest, Toyota announced that the Toyota Supra will make its NASCAR debut in the NXS at Daytona International Speedway in 2019.
“This is truly a landmark occasion and opportunity for Toyota and TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development),” said David Wilson, president of TRD. “We've been absolutely dedicated to bringing Supra back to American motorsports and the fact that it gets to debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, it's a great honor and it really speaks to just how important NASCAR is to our company.”
Antron Brown advanced to the Top Fuel finals in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action at New England Dragway on Sunday.
The final round was the first of the season for the three-time world champion as he ran a gauntlet of top drivers. Brown’s three best passes of the weekend came on his final three runs on Sunday.
“We’re taking one step at a time and we’re constantly getting better and better,” said Brown. “Our car has been running well. We just needed to be in the right spot at the right time. We thought this was our weekend and we’re just bummed (after losing in the final). This entire Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team has just been working so hard together.”
Both Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton also won in the opening round, before being eliminated in round two.
Sheldon Creed captured Toyota’s 12th-consecutive ARCA Racing Series win of the season when he was victorious at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night. Creed has had an elite season thus far – winning three times (Michigan, Gateway and Iowa) and scoring 11 top-five finishes in 12 races.
Toyota drivers swept the top-four positions with Creed winning, Chandler Smith finishing second, and Chase Purdy and Zane Smith finishing third and fourth, respectively.
Toyota drivers swept both POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League events over the weekend.
Tucker Klaasmeyer overcame late contact in holding off his Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Logan Seavey to win his fourth POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League event of the season at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois on Saturday. With the victory, he moves past Ryan Robinson into the series point lead.
“That was a fun race,” relayed a victorious Klaasmeyer. “I didn’t know if the top was finally going to come in, but hat’s off to my team and family. This is pretty awesome to get number four already. There are more races this week, so we’ll see if we can keep it going. It’s been a pretty special year. Hopefully, we can keep it going and hold the points lead this week. I’m looking forward to it.”
On Sunday, it was Tanner Carrick who led Seavey and Zach Daum in a Toyota one-two-three finish at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s 37th annual Pepsi Nationals at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
The win was the second of the season for the 16-year-old Carrick and the 22nd national midget feature win for a Toyota-powered driver this year.
"I was glad to see Logan turn it there off the bottom," said Carrick. "He didn't know I was there and by the time I went to pass him it was a really late chance. I shouldn't have tried running the middle around Daum on the restart, but I learned my lesson and drove back. I can't thank enough my team for all their hard work. Only two of our cars rolled back in the trailer last night. By the end of the night, we had them all ready to go for today."
It’s a full weekend of racing for Toyota drivers with all three NASCAR national series heading to Kentucky Speedway for a triple-header weekend. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is slated for a Saturday race on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will run Friday at 8 p.m. on NBCSN, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will go green Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on FS1.
The ARCA Racing Series is in action Saturday at Elko Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on MAVTV. Both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West will race this week. In the East, they will race Saturday at Thompson Speedway on tape delay until July 24 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. In the West, they run Sunday at Spokane County Raceway on tape delay until July 24 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The Lucas Off Road Racing Series is slated to race at ERX Motor Park on both Friday and Saturday. USAC Racing has events beginning tomorrow at Red Dirt Raceway and Wednesday at Solomon Valley Raceway. The series heads to Jefferson County Speedway Friday and Saturday, and has a contest at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex on Sunday. POWRi races at Valley Speedway Friday and Saturday.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy