Toyota enjoyed a successful weekend of racing tallying four wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Texas, the inaugural four-wide NHRA event in Las Vegas, the season-opening event for Formula Drift in Long Beach and the ARCA Racing Series race in Nashville.
Camry driver Kyle Busch was victorious in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch led a race-high 116 laps (of 334) and won the second stage of the 500-mile event en route to his first victory of the 2018 season.
“It’s just certainly a team effort and a great win,” said Busch in victory lane. “My guys were awesome on pit road. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys did a phenomenal job of getting me a great race car today. This Interstate Batteries Camry was flying. We were where we needed to be there at the end and we were just able to hold them off. Can’t say enough about all these guys – everybody on this Toyota. It was rocking today.”
Busch continues to lead the MENCS point standings after recording top-three finishes in five-consecutive races.
Erik Jones finished fourth Sunday, marking his first top-five result in the Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Jones led twice for 64 laps.
Camry driver Denny Hamlin also led 12 circuits early in the race on Sunday but was involved in an accident and finished 34th.
In NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) action at Texas, Christopher Bell finished runner-up in the No. 20 Camry to race-winner Ryan Blaney.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we had a second-place car,” said Bell, following the race. “I didn’t think we had a second-place car after practice yesterday. My team is definitely the best team out there man. It seems like every single week we race better than we practice and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Ryan Preece finished fifth in Saturday’s race for Toyota and joined Bell in qualifying for the Dash 4 Cash at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. Bell led 10 laps (of 200), while his JGR teammate Brandon Jones led nine circuits around the 1.5-mile oval and won the second stage of the 300-mile race – his first Stage win of the season.
J.R. Todd drove his DHL Camry to victory over Courtney Force, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson in the Funny Car finals to win Sunday’s inaugural DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I’ve been saying all along that I’m not really a fan of four-wide racing, but it’s definitely cool to be the winner of the first four wide here in Vegas so I guess I have to like it now,” said Todd. “If it’s going to help the sport grow, then I’m all for it. As a driver, you have to focus so much more on the starting line. Before the first round, Shawn Langdon and I had a game plan on what we were going to do, we executed it and the reaction times told the story.”
In Top Fuel, both Doug Kalitta and Antron Brown were able to advance to the final round, with Kalitta eventually placing third, while Brown was fourth.
After making its debut at the New York International Auto Show recently, the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback was victorious in its Formula Drift debut with Toyota driver Fredric Aasbø behind the wheel in the season-opener on the streets of Long Beach, California on Saturday.
The initial Final battle between Aasbø and Forrest Wang was too close to call and resulted in a One More Time decision before ‘The Norwegian Hammer’ claimed his 11th-career victory with a two-one split judges’ decision in their second matchup.
“It’s taken a lot of things [to get the win],” said Aasbø. “It’s taken an amazing team, sponsors and all of that. Toyota came out with this new car and this victory is definitely for them.”
Seven Camrys finished in the top-10 in Saturday’s ARCA Series race at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, including a victory by Toyota driver Zane Smith.
Smith led a race-high 120 laps (of 200) to earn his first-career ARCA victory. MDM Motorsports swept the top-three finishing positions with Sheldon Creed finishing second to Smith and Harrison Burton in third.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series will compete at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. The Cup Series event is Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET on FOX while the NXS event is Saturday, April 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET on FS1.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has an upcoming off-weekend before returning to action at the NHRA Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, April 20-22.
Formula D next competes in Round 2: Uncharted Territory in Orlando at Orlando Speed World on Friday and Saturday, April 27-28.
The USAC P1 Insurance National Midget series competes at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway on April 13 and 14.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORS) competes this weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler Arizona on Saturday, April 14.
Lisa Hughes Kennedy