Toyotas swept all stock car action in both Pocono and Iowa this weekend earning five victories across NASCAR and ARCA competition, while the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals took place in California.
Camry driver Kyle Busch earned his sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) win of the season when he captured the victory at Pocono Raceway on Sunday. With his victory, Busch recorded his 49th-career win to tie Tony Stewart for 13th all-time in the MENCS record books.
“Certainly Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys are mightily incredible,” said Busch. “We didn’t unload the best. I felt like I had a feel here last year and we were way off. We worked really hard on trying to get that back and they did such a good job, just a phenomenal time here. M&M’s Caramel — it’s pretty cool to win for them being here and right up the road is where they’re all at in Hackettstown so really thankful for that and of course Toyota and Interstate Batteries, NOS Energy Drink – made by a winner for winners so that’s good for them.”
The triumph was the seventh in the last nine races for Toyota, as well as the manufacturer’s 11th victory in 21 events this season.
Camry driver Daniel Suárez finished second to record a career-best result. He led the field three times for 29 circuits after starting from the pole.
Camry drivers Erik Jones (fifth) and Denny Hamlin (10th) also tallied top-10 results in Pocono. Jones led the field for 11 laps, while Hamlin paced five circuits.
Toyota driver Christopher Bell took the checkered flag in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway to earn his third-consecutive victory. With his win, Bell became the first Xfinity Series regular since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999 to win three-straight NXS races. Only Cup drivers had accomplished the feat since.
“When it’s your day it’s your day,” said Bell. “I’ll take them anyway I can get them, man. Our Ruud Camry was really, really good. I’m just thankful that we were able to get Ruud in victory lane. This was their first win. All of these Camrys are made in Georgetown, Kentucky, here in the United States so it’s special to win for these guys. I’ll tell you what, that long run there early in the race the 00 (Cole Custer) was kind of able to get out on me and we were really equal, but I thought he might have been a little bit better. My crew chief Jason (Ratcliff) just kept making the car better and better and better and I was just praying for no yellow there on that long green-flag run and then it came it just came time to execute on restarts.”
Tundra driver Kyle Busch tied the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series all-time wins record when he captured his 51st-career win at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon. Busch started from the pole and led a race-high 53 laps (of 60) to tie the milestone mark.
“It’s awesome. I can’t say enough about everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports and everybody that’s gotten these win totals to where they’re at,” said Busch. “Racing with Billy Ballew and racing KBM stuff, back in the heyday with – I don’t think I won a race with Morgan-Dollar, but I ran with those guys. It’s certainly – it’s a true testament to all the hard work and everybody, all the dedication and perseverance everybody has at Kyle Busch Motorsports to get me such a fast Cessna Beechcraft Tundra here. The guys at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) do an awesome job for us.”
Busch’s 51st-career triumph in the NCWTS ties him with Ron Hornaday Jr. in the series record book. He also holds the NXS all-time win record with 92 triumphs.
Erik Jones finished second after starting from the rear of the field when he replaced driver Noah Gragson, who was forced to miss the race due to illness.
Tundra driver Todd Gilliland finished seventh after winning the race’s first stage to mark his first stage win of the 2018 season.
In a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West combination race at Iowa Speedway, Toyota driver Tyler Ankrum won his third-consecutive race and fourth event of 2018. After spinning in qualifying and starting from the back, Ankrum led the final 48 laps before driving to victory lane. He remains first in the K&N Pro Series East standings.
Toyota driver Doug Kalitta advanced to the Top Fuel semi-finals in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday.
Kalitta defeated point leader Steve Torrence in the opening round at Sonoma Raceway in California and then knocked off pole-sitter Clay Millican in round two. He would fall to Tony Schumacher in the semi-final. Blake Alexander won the event in the Top Fuel class.
“We were going good then evidently the clutch lever broke and we threw the rods out and threw the belt off not far from the finish line,” said Kalitta. “It’s just one of those deals. Our Mac Tools Toyota dragster was running well all day. We just got beat. I’m real proud of our guys. We came across something today that we’re pretty excited about in the motor. We’re carrying some good momentum into Seattle and we’re all excited to get up there.”
In Funny Car, Del Worsham drove his Camry to the second round, knocking off number one qualifier Courtney Force in his opening run of the day and fell to John Force in the following round. Robert Hight won the event in Funny Car.
Fresh off capturing the 2018 ARCA Racing Series manufacturer’s title, Toyota drivers swept the top-six finishing positions in Friday’s nights rain-shortened event at Pocono Raceway. Zane Smith won the race – his fourth victory of 2018 – and leads the series in wins after 14 races.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series will take on the second road course of the 2018 season at Watkins Glen International. The Cup Series will race Sunday, August 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, while the Xfinity Series will be in action Saturday, August 4 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will join the national series and race on Friday, August 3 at Watkins Glen. The race will air on tape-delay August 8 at 6 p.m. ET.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is in action this weekend and will compete in the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Washington’s Pacific Raceways on Saturday, August 4 at 10 p.m. ET on FS1.
POWRi is slated to race this weekend at at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri August 3-4, while USAC will compete in Pennsylvania Midget Week beginning August 2 at Path Valley Speedway Park. They race Friday, August 3 at Linda's Speedway; Saturday, August 4 at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway and wrap up Sunday, August 5 at Baps Motor Speedway.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy