Toyota NASCAR drivers competed at Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend, registering top-five finishes with two race weekends remaining in the 2018 NASCAR season.
Camry driver Erik Jones recorded a fourth-place result in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. The finish marks the third time in the last five Cup Series races Jones has earned a fourth-place result.
“Our SportClips Camry was pretty fast today,” said Erik Jones, following the race. “Just didn’t have the fire-off speed that we needed to contend there the last short runs, but a good day for us. Running top-five, top-10 – we kind of know what we need to work on to get a little bit more. We’ll go to work. Texas has been a good place so hopefully we can come back in the spring and get a win.”
Toyota MENCS Playoff drivers Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) and Kyle Busch (17th) finished inside the top-20 after overcoming pit road issues during the race in Texas. Both drivers remain above the MENCS Playoffs cutoff line heading into Sunday’s elimination race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Brandon Jones was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Playoff race at Texas with a sixth-place finish.
“Wish we could have got a little bit more, but we made the call that we had to with the couple spins that we had,” added Brandon Jones, following the NXS race. “We were also limited on our tires at the end and everyone was really limited on fuel there until that last caution. Not a bad day to end on and looking forward to the last two that we have.”
Toyota Playoff driver Christopher Bell started on the pole and led 35 laps (of 200) before finishing 32nd at Texas after being involved in an incident in the final stage. Bell sits below the cutoff line in the playoffs heading into Saturday’s NXS cutoff race in Phoenix.
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Tundra driver Todd Gilliland led a race-high 60 laps (of 147) and was half a lap away from capturing his first career NCWTS race win when he ran out of fuel on the final lap at Texas on Friday night. Gilliland went on to finish fourth, joining Toyota drivers Brett Moffitt (third), Harrison Burton (sixth) and Noah Gragson (10th) in the top-10.
“I had no idea how we were on fuel. I thought we were good,” said Gilliland. “I am very disappointed but very proud at the same time. My team gave me a great truck and I wrecked in qualifying. We were still able to come out here and contend for a win. We win and lose as a team. I made a mistake and we ran out of gas. It is what it is. I am so proud of everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. We tried a completely different package this weekend. It definitely shows that we were better. We’re here to gain on it every week. As disappointed as we were tonight, to come from the back and almost win was a solid night.”
Both Moffitt (third) and Gragson (fourth) remain in the top-four in the Playoff standings heading into the NCWTS cutoff race on Friday at ISM Raceway.
NASCAR has a triple-header race weekend at ISM Raceway in Phoenix where the Truck Series kicks off racing action on Friday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1. The NASCAR Xfinity Series follows on Saturday, November 10 at 3:30 p.m. on NBC with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series closing out the weekend on Sunday, November 11 at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.
NHRA closes out its 2018 season at Pomona Raceway, November 8-11, as J.R. Todd leads the Funny Car Playoff standings going into the final event. The Final Round will be shown live on FS1 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
POWRi also finishes out its 2018 competition this weekend in the season-finale National Midget Championships at Kennedale Speedway Park in Texas on Saturday, November 10. Toyota driver Tucker Klaasmeyer currently leads the point standings, looking to earn the third consecutive driver’s championship for Toyota.
Leigh Anne Sessions
Lisa Hughes Kennedy