Holiday Weekend Nets Winning Results
September 04, 2018
What better way for a racer to close out the summer than with a trip to victory lane – or bring home a championship – and that’s exactly how Toyota drivers celebrated Labor Day weekend. In total, five triumphs were collected across NHRA, ARCA, POWRi and the first championship of the year won by a Toyota driver in off-road racing.
Three Toyota Camry drivers collected top-10 finishes at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway with Kyle Busch the top-Toyota finisher in seventh in the Southern 500 on Sunday. Erik Jones finished eighth, his 13th top-10 in his sophomore season.
“We had a really good car,” Jones said. “The Sport Clips Camry was good. You can’t complain. We worked hard on it all night and had a fast car – had a car that I think if it would’ve stayed green, maybe we could have contended.”
Earlier in the weekend, Denny Hamlin earned his third pole position of the season and he led 11 laps before finishing 10th.
The three drivers, along with Martin Truex Jr. are already locked into the Cup Series playoffs as the series heads to Indiana for the regular season finale. Busch, the 2015 series champion, leads the regular season by 39 points with one race remaining and he and Truex sit second and third in the playoff standings based on wins this year.
In NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) action, Hamlin made his sole start of the season and finished fourth as the highest-finishing Camry driver in Saturday’s race.
The NXS has two races remaining before their playoffs begin at Richmond Raceway later this month. Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones have already locked themselves into the post-season title hunt.
The race weekend was swept by Brad Keselowski.
Camry driver J.R. Todd won the Funny Car finals on Monday – his second consecutive U.S. Nationals title at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
“I’m just happy to get a win here,” Todd said. “The Funny Car division is so tough out here. We came out really strong this spring, then really fell off in the summer. Before this race, we made some pretty big changes going into the Indy test - in some ways going back to the old ways of running the DHL Toyota Camry.”
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta fell just 0.006 short of making it a Kalitta Motorsports/Toyota sweep as he advanced to his fifth final round of the season. Terry McMillen was the winner.
Indianapolis concluded the NHRA regular season as the Countdown to the Championship begins and four Toyota drivers will compete for the series title. Kalitta and Antron Brown will compete in Top Fuel, while Todd and Shawn Langdon will vie for the Funny Car title.
CJ Greaves drove his Toyota Tundra Pro-4 to victories on Friday and Saturday to capture the first Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League title in off-road competition. Tundras won all seven points races on the schedule.
“Man, it was a crazy season,” said Greaves. “We had all kinds of ups and downs, we just kept our heads down and digging to get the truck better and better each week.”
Toyota driver Logan Seavey mastered the dirt track of DuQuoin State Fairgrounds to claim his first-career ARCA Racing Series victory in only his second series start on Monday.
Seavey started fourth and stayed within the top-10 most of the race until taking the lead on lap 66 (of 100) and never relinquished it to collect his first stock car victory.
Toyota drivers swept the weekend’s POWRi National Midget League events at Missouri’s Lake Ozark Speedway with Seavey winning Saturday night and POWRi point leader Tucker Klaasmeyer on Sunday.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series closes out the regular season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 9 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. NASCAR Xfinity Series also competes at Indy on September 8 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
USAC will host a special event at the Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 5-6, which will be broadcast on September 7 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
ARCA will also race in Indy this week, at Lucas Oil Raceway on September 7 at 9 p.m. ET on MAVTV.