Toyota drivers will carry momentum from three-straight wins to open the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs into a home race in North Carolina on Sunday, while the Rally RAV4 team heads to Arizona for off-road action.
With the NASCAR Playoffs rounding into form, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series will compete in home races at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the weekend.
The Cup Series will begin the second, three-race round of the postseason on the 1.5-mile track on Sunday with Camry drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch leading the standings after sweeping the open round of the Playoffs. Truex, the series points leader, won the Playoff opener in Chicago, while Busch, who ranks second, now has back-to-back wins (New Hampshire and Dover) and momentum coming to Charlotte.
“We had a really solid first round,” Busch said. “We added more bonus points in the first round, so hopefully we can have a good, solid next three races and keep advancing. Charlotte has always been a good place for me and, with the way we ran there in May (All-Star Race victory), it should give us some confidence going into this weekend.”
Following the opening three-race elimination round of the Playoffs, all four Toyota drivers advanced – Truex, Busch, Denny Hamlin (ranked seventh) and Matt Kenseth (11th) – into the field of 12 drivers still vying for the championship. All three OEM’s competing in the Cup Series now have four Playoff entrants remaining.
In the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), Matt Tifft ranks seventh as the lone Toyota Camry title contender entering a cutoff race at Charlotte on Saturday.
Tifft has a season best three-straight top-10 results entering the third race in the opening round of the NXS Playoffs and currently sits one position above the eighth-place cutoff.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend until their Playoffs continue at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The MENCS races at Charlotte on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2:00 p.m. and the race will be broadcast live on NBC, while the NXS competes on the 1.5-mile oval on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 3:00 p.m. and is televised on NBCSN.
Coming off a championship in the American Rally Association’s 2WD class, Ryan Millen and co-pilot Rhiannon Gelsomino will take the Rally RAV4 to Arizona’s Prescott Rally over the weekend.
The duo went a perfect six-for-six winning the 2WD class in each ARA event to take the title in the inaugural season for the series.
The RAV4 team also finished second in class in Rally American action in Missouri in March.
The Prescott Rally takes place in Prescott, Arizona on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy