Smith Grabs Top Prize for Toyota Over Weekend of Racing
May 21, 2018
Toyota driver Zane Smith continued the manufacturer’s ARCA Racing Series winning ways, while Daniel Suárez finished runner-up in NASCAR’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to lead Toyota Racing over the weekend.
Camry driver Daniel Suárez earned a career-best second-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race as the top-finishing Toyota at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finishing one spot shy of a million dollar prize.
Suarez had the inside lane for the race’s final restart with two laps to go, but Kevin Havick carried momentum from the outside lane to pass and take the lead for the win.
“I felt like we had a car actually capable to win the race,” Suarez said after the race. “We were very strong, competitive. For whatever reason restarts, my car was taking like one lap to go—I needed a little bit more right there. I tried to side draft the 4 (Harvick), but it was just tough. After that it was pretty much game over because I started racing the 22 (Joey Logano) instead of the 4, but proud of my guys. It hurts to be close and to not get it.”
Suárez raced his way into the non-points event with a stage win in the Monster Energy Open qualifying event, which preceded the All-Star Race.
Camry drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished fourth and ninth, respectively, in the All-Star Race.
In the Truck Series, Busch led the way for a trio of Tundras as he claimed second and was followed to the finish by Brandon Jones in third and Brett Moffitt in fourth.
For Jones, the third-place result came in just his second start in the Truck Series after finishing ninth in his debut at Kansas Speedway a week ago. The 21-year-old driver now has eight top-10 results in 12 starts across the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Truck Series in 2018.
“I think there’s a lot of effort right now going on with myself, especially with our Xfinity program as well,” Jones said. “Chris Gabehart, the crew chief on that car, has been doing a really good job of teaching me a lot of things and getting my racing IQ up. We’ve been having a lot of meetings and having a lot of simulator time at TRD (Toyota Racing Development), so we’ve been putting 24 hours into it just about every single day this entire year. It’s starting to pay off here little by little. I think we’ve got some momentum built up.”
Tundra drivers Noah Gragson and Todd Gilliland also finished in the top-10 overall in eighth and 10th, respectively.
Gilliland, who turned 18 years old prior to the Charlotte race, now has top-10 results in each of his last two starts in the Truck Series and will contest the remainder of the schedule. With his Charlotte result, Gilliland moved up to 17th in points despite running just three of the first seven events due to age restrictions.
Johnny Sauter was victorious on the 1.5-mile track in North Carolina.
Toyota drivers tallied three top-five results in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West action at California’ Orange Show Speedway, with Cole Rouse, Hailie Deegan and Derek Kraus finishing third through fifth.
It was Deegan’s career-best result in the series and came at a home track race for the Temecula, California native, as Orange Show is located in nearby San Bernardino.
Toyota drivers advanced to the semi-finals in Funny Car in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action at Kansas’ Heartland Motorsports Park in a rain delayed event held Monday.
Toyota’s Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd both advanced as far as the semis in Funny Car.
Clay Millican won in Top Fuel and Courtney Force won in Funny Car.
NASCAR Next and Toyota driver Zane Smith was once again victorious in the ARCA Racing Series and earned his third win of the year at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway on Sunday.
Four Toyota drivers combined to lead all 200 laps, as the manufacturer has now won five-straight events to start the ARCA Racing Series season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series compete at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. The Xfinity Series races on Saturday, May 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET with the race broadcast on FS1 before the Cup Series competes on Sunday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m. ET with television coverage on FOX.
The ARCA Racing Series competes on Thursday, May 24 at Charlotte at 9:00 p.m. ET with coverage on FS1.