In a busy weekend of racing, Toyota drivers scored top finishes across six of its series including wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Camry drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. placed second and fourth, respectively, in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch led the field once for 36 laps (of 301) on the 1.058-mile track, while Truex led the field one time for 83 laps en route to a fourth-place result. Truex also won the race’s first stage.
“We fought the same exact things all weekend long,” said Busch. “We just could not get it fixed. We tried everything we possibly could. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys worked really, really hard on it all weekend. Even in the race, they worked really, really hard in getting me a better piece each and every team we hit the race track, so that’s all you can ask for and of course my pit crew, they were awesome.”
With their finishes, Busch and Truex remain first and third, respectively, in the Cup Series point standings.
Toyota driver Christopher Bell earned back-to-back victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) as he won Saturday’s race at New Hampshire after winning at Kentucky Speedway last week. Bell started second and led the field three times for a race-high 93 laps (of 200) to finish first. Bell also won the race’s first stage and was eighth at the conclusion of the second stage.
“I never dreamed I would be here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Bell. “I never dreamed I’d be racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series honestly, but, man, I’m just proud of this entire group at Joe Gibbs Racing. This No. 20 team works their butts off and really happy for all of our partners at Rheem, Ruud, GameStop, Toyota, obviously everyone at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and bottom line I’m really thankful for Jack Irving (director of Team & Support Service for TRD, U.S.A.), Tyler Gibbs (senior vice president and GM for TRD, U.S.A.), Pete Willoughby, Keith Kunz (team owner of Keith Kunz Motorsports). Those guys are the ones that took – put their neck out on the line – so those guys right there put their neck out on the line for me and here I am today.”
With his performance, Bell jumped to second in the NXS point standings and leads the Playoff points with 18 marks to eight for his next-closest competitor. Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates also finished in the top-10 overall with Connecticut-native Ryan Preece in third and Brandon Jones in sixth.
Three Toyota drivers finished in the top-10 of Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, including its highest-finishing driver Brett Moffitt (fifth).
In his first-career NCWTS start, Tundra driver Logan Seavey placed eighth after leading 53 (of 153 laps) in the event, which went into overtime.
“This was a really cool experience for me,” said Seavey. “Obviously, I’ve only done a couple stock car starts. Mostly just open-wheel stuff and to get in here and you know, run up front there in the first stage, compete for the lead and then kind of be able to maneuver my way through the field in the second stage and then lead 50 or so laps there on the third stage, it was really, really fun.”
Tundra driver Noah Gragson finished sixth – scoring his eighth-consecutive top-10 finish this season. Gragson remains second in the NCWTS point standings while Moffitt is third.
Camry driver Tyler Ankrum captured his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory of the season Saturday when he won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He led all 70 laps of the event.
Ankrum has now won back-to-back races after capturing a race win at Thompson Speedway a week ago. He remains first in the East standings after nine races this season.
Doug Kalitta drove his Mac Tools/Toyota dragster to the Top Fuel finals in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at Bandimere Speedway near Denver on Sunday. Sunday’s performance in Denver marked the fourth final round appearance of the season for Kalitta.
“Anytime you are on the mountain and in the final is a good day,” said Kalitta. “I was really impressed by the Mac Tools Toyota team today after the way we struggled in qualifying. They worked so hard. We accomplished a lot and came so close to winning. On the bright side, we have put ourselves into a position to gain a few positions in the Countdown if we continue to run well down the stretch. I am already excited for the Toyota Sonoma Nationals."
Cruz Pedregon’s Camry led the way for Toyota in Funny Car and advanced to the second round before suffering what appeared to be a problem with the head gasket that set off the automatic shutdown of the engine.
Ryan Tuerck took second place with the top-finishing Toyota entry in Formula DRIFT’s fifth event of the 2018 season, ‘Round 5: Throwdown,’ at Evergreen Speedway outside Seattle on Saturday. The podium finish was Tuerck’s first of the 2018 season and the Toyota 86 driver jumped four spots to sixth in the point standings with his finish.
Toyota Corolla Hatchback driver Fredric Aasbø also finished in the top-10 overall with a ninth-place showing. The Norwegian driver remains second in the point standings following the event in Washington.
The 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 recorded a fifth-place result (12th overall) in the GTD class in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Lime Rock Park with drivers Jack Hawksworth and Mario Farnbacher.
Hawskworth led 31 laps in the No. 15 Lexus and ran the quickest lap in class on lap 45 with a time of 52.145, marking the fourth time in five races he’s run the fastest GTD lap of the race. The No. 15 has registered four top-five finishes in seven GTD races this season.
“We struggled in practice all weekend, so coming into this morning we didn’t really know what to expect,” said Hawksworth. “We threw a Hail Mary in qualifying and ended up third, which was okay, but we were concerned about the race. We got out there and the pace was pretty okay in the first stint, pitted early to get on the new tires and the pace was good and the strategy was good. We got held up right at the end of my third stint by another car, which cost us about four or five seconds and was enough for us to come out of the pits in fifth instead of second or third. That traffic at the end of my stint is really what made the difference between being on the podium and being fifth. I’m honestly quite happy because the Lexus was working a lot better in the race and we were close to being on the podium.”
The No. 14 Lexus finished seventh in Saturday’s GT-only sprint race with 3GT Racing drivers Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli.
The ARCA Racing Series event at Berlin Raceway was postponed due to inclement weather. The race has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 25.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series both head to Pocono Raceway, with the Cup Series in action Sunday, July 29 at 2:30 p.m. on NBCSN, while the Truck Series runs Saturday, July 28 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1. The ARCA Racing Series is also slated to race at the Tricky Triangle on Friday, July 27 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to Iowa Speedway this weekend and will race Saturday, July 28 at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The NASCAR K&N Pro Seriest East and West will also race together at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27. The race will air tape-delayed on Thursday, August 2 at 6 p.m. ET.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series hits the track in Sonoma for the Toyota Nationals Sunday, July 29 at 4 p.m. on FOX.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy