Toyota Racing drivers won both NASCAR races and the ARCA Racing Series event in Pocono, Pennsylvania, while Spencer Bayston captured USAC’s Indiana Midget Week title.
Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. captured his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of 2018 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, posting Toyota’s sixth win in 14 races. The win was Truex’ second career-series victory at Pocono – a home track for the 2017 defending NASCAR champion.
Truex paced the field two times throughout the race, setting himself up for a Stage 1 win on lap 52 (of 160) and later staying out under caution with 20 laps to go. A final restart with seven laps to go could not deter the No. 78 Camry driver as he pulled away from second place to take the checkers.
“It’s always fun to win,” said Truex after the race. “But especially when you beat the best guys out there. These two guys (Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick) were so fast today. Honestly, we were all really equal. It was a matter of who could get out front.”
Last year’s race winner Kyle Busch also finished in the top five with a third-place finish after leading 13 laps. Busch remains the Cup Series point leader heading into this week’s race at Michigan International Speedway.
Just one day prior, Busch drove his Camry to victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, winning Toyota’s first Xfinity Series race at Pocono. He led a race-high 64 laps (of 100) on the way to his 92nd series victory.
“It means a lot to win here in the Xfinity Series at Pocono and check another box, if you will, of being able to win in all active tracks on the Xfinity schedule,” said Busch. “That’s pretty special. There are a few that I have missed out on and haven’t gotten over the years that I wish I could get. They’re gone and done now, so I can’t. But overall, today was a great day.”
Busch overcame a pit road speeding penalty at the start of Stage 2 and came from the back of the field to retake the lead on lap 66 and never looked back.
Christopher Bell, who received the same pit road speeding penalty, made his way through the field with Busch only to get caught in an accident on lap 60, ending his day early as he finished 36th. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is fifth in the point standings, leading all Toyota drivers.
In NASCAR K&N Pro Series East action at Memphis International Raceway, Ruben Garcia tallied Toyota’s seventh-consecutive win as Toyota drivers continue to go undefeated this season. Garcia became just the fourth Mexican-born driver to win in the series and the latest since Camry driver Daniel Suárez in 2014.
In NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action, Doug Kalitta advanced to the Top Fuel semi-finals as the top finishing Toyota in Sunday’s NHRA contest at Route 66 Speedway near Chicago.
After qualifying eighth, Kalitta advanced to the semi-finals before falling to eventual race winner Clay Millican in a close contest with the margin of victory just 0.0053 seconds – or approximately three feet.
“It was a solid day for the Mac Tools Toyota,” said Kalitta. “We’re always looking for wins, but this was a good points day on a tricky track. We will head to Richmond next weekend and try to get the win there."
Fellow Toyota Top Fuel drivers, Antron Brown and Richie Crampton, each lost in round one on Sunday.
In Funny Car, Shawn Langdon opened the day with a win before dropping a cylinder and narrowly losing in round two. Fellow Funny Car drivers J.R. Todd and Cruz Pedregon were both eliminated in the first round.
Ken Gushi claimed seventh as the top-finishing Toyota entry in Formula DRIFT action at New Jersey’s Wall Stadium Speedway on Saturday.
In the 100th event in Formula D’s history, Gushi – who has raced in the series since its first event 15 years ago – advanced to the Great 8, but was eliminated by winner event James Deane.
Toyota drivers Fredric Aasbø (ninth) and Ryan Tuerck (12th) advanced to the Round of 16 before being eliminated on the New Jersey track. With his result, Aasbø now sits second in the point standings and trails Deane by 17 points.
Harrison Burton captured his second-career ARCA Racing Series win at Pocono Raceway in only five series starts as Toyota drivers swept the top three spots on Friday. It was the seventh-consecutive win for Toyota drivers who are undefeated in the series this season.
Burton jumped to the lead with eight laps remaining and never looked back, collecting his first career superspeedway win.
“Really proud of my guys,” said Burton. “That’s kind of the biggest thing is they kept me in it and really helped me with my handicap, which is my experience. They really walked me through a lot of stuff.”
Sheldon Creed finish second while series points leader Zane Smith was third.
Spencer Bayston captured the USAC Indiana Midget Week (IMW) title as Toyota-powered drivers won three of the week’s four contested races.
Bayston claimed the 2018 title by charging from the back of the field to finish second in his Craftsman Toyota in the IMW finale at Kokomo Speedway on Sunday.
“After being so close the last couple years on winning the midget week title that was my main focus on coming into this week,” said Bayston. “Midway through the week, I didn't think it was going to be possible. These last two nights, my guys kept working and we put together two solid nights that earned us this week championship.”
Toyota drivers won three-of-four events across IMW, including seven podium finishes, with victories by IMW champion Bayston at Lawrenceburg Speedway, a triumph by Kyle Larson in the IMW opener at Montpelier Speedway and a win for Chad Boat at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Toyota-powered drivers have won 18 of 21 national midget car feature events in 2018, while earning titles at the two biggest events of the season to date – the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals and Bayston’s IMW title.
Toyota Racing drivers will compete in seven racing series in the upcoming week, including stock car, drag racing and drift action.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfiniy Series visit Michigan International Speedway on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10. The Cup Series will compete on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET with live coverage on FOX, while the Xfinity Series competes on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The ARCA Racing Series accompanies NASCAR at Michigan where driverswill compete on Friday, June 8 at 6 p.m. with live coverage on MAVTV.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competes at its first standalone race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m. on FS1.
In NASCAR regional series action, the the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will race at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, June 9 with the action tape delayed for broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, June 14.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes at Virginia Motorsports Park from Friday to Sunday, June 8-10 with television coverage on FS1.
POWRi returns to action for Illinois Speedweek from Wednesday, June 6 to Sunday, June 10. The events will not be televised.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy