Wintery weather plagued Martinsville, Virginia over the weekend, pushing back both NASCAR races to Monday where Toyota drivers earned a pair of runner-up finishes in the double-header event. Meanwhile, NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) regular Christopher Bell took advantage of his off-weekend to return to his racing roots and earn two national midget car wins in his native Oklahoma.
Camry driver Kyle Busch finished second to Clint Bowyer in Monday’s snow-delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race. It was his third runner-up result in the last four races of the season. With the second-place finish, the Las Vegas native takes over the series points lead.
“The fact that we’re a championship-caliber team with myself, Adam (Stevens, crew chief) of course and my guys,” Busch said, after Monday’s race. “We have to keep executing and doing a good job. That’s what we’re doing right now, it’s just not working our way. The M&M’s Caramel Camry was really close today.”
After weather canceled MENCS qualifying for the weekend, Martin Truex Jr. started out front with Busch alongside him, going on to finish fourth. It was Truex’ fifth-consecutive top-five or better finish.
Camry driver Denny Hamlin led 111 laps and won the event’s first stage before finishing 12th on Monday. It was Hamlin’s first stage win of 2018.
In his first-ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race, Tundra driver Kyle Benjamin scored a runner-up finish to John Hunter Nemechek at Martinsville on Monday. He led 74 laps (of 250) and was one of four Tundra drivers to finish in the top-10 in the weather-delayed race, along with Brett Moffitt (third), Noah Gragson (fifth) and Harrison Burton (eighth).
This was the first time since 1993 that NASCAR delayed a race due to snow.
With an off-week for the NXS, Christopher Bell swept the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League's "Turnpike Challenge" doubleheader at Oklahoma’s I-44 Riverside Speedway this weekend. Toyota driver Logan Seavey also earned runner-up honors each night. Bell has now won 14 of his last 17 midget car races, while Toyota-powered drivers have won nine of 10 midget feature events in 2018.
The racing community takes next weekend off for the sole quiet weekend of the season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Toyota’s backyard when they compete at Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks. The Cup Series event is Sunday, April 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1 while the NXS event is Saturday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes a month off before returning to action at Dover International Speedway on Friday, May 4.
NHRA returns to Las Vegas’ first four-wide event April 6-8.
Formula Drift kicks off their 2018 season in two weeks on the streets of Long Beach as Toyota drivers look to visit winner’s circle in their Toyota 86s and Corolla hatchback April 6-7.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy