Toyota drivers were victorious in two series over the weekend, highlighted by Martin Truex Jr.’s victory in Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway and a win by Michael Self in ARCA Menards Series competition at Salem Speedway.
Truex earned his first-career short track Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) victory in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, marking his first win this season with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Truex led a race-high 186 laps (of 400), including the final 79 circuits around the .75-mile Virginia short track where he held off multiple competitors en route to victory lane.
“I’m really excited to win here at Richmond,” said Truex. “I’ve always really enjoyed this track. I’ve always loved coming here. Everybody at JGR is doing a great job and with Toyota. It’s just a blessing to drive these race cars and have an awesome team. We’ve been chipping away at it and hopefully we can get better from here on out.”
Camry drivers have now won three-consecutive Cup Series events and continued to extend Toyota’s lead in the manufacturer championship point standings.
Truex’s JGR teammates Denny Hamlin (fifth) and Kyle Busch (eighth) also earned top-10 results in Saturday’s Toyota entitlement race at Richmond.
In Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250, Riley Herbst started from the pole position and finished ninth in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race of the season. Christopher Bell led 32 laps (of 250) early in the race but was involved in an on-track incident and came back to finish in 16th place.
“We were cruising,” said Herbst of his first NXS start. “We had a really good Toyota Supra. I made a lot of mistakes tonight, but I definitely learned a lot every single lap and Richmond is definitely a difficult race track, but it’s fun.”
Antron Brown drove his Matco Tools Toyota dragster to his first final round of the season before falling to Brittany Force in Sunday’s NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. It marked the sixth time that Brown has reached the SpringNationals finals. Brown moved up to seventh in the Top Fuel point standings, while fellow Toyota driver Doug Kalitta remains in first.
“All in all, it was a good day for the Matco Tools/Toyota/Pennzoil race team today,” said Brown. “We’ve been going through a lot of adversity and we’ve just been fighting through it as a unit together. Today, people saw what we are capable of. It feels good just to get back to what’s been the norm.”
In Funny Car, both J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon advanced to the second round on Sunday.
Self scored his second-consecutive ARCA Menards Series win on Sunday in a rain-shortened event at Indiana’s Salem Speedway.
“I owe all of this to my Venturini Motorsports guys,” said Self. “We knew yesterday we were going to have a good race car. We didn’t have a lot of qualifying speed, but we knew once the race started, especially if it was cool and cloudy, that we’d be good.”
Self took the lead on lap 27 and dominated the race before it was called for inclement weather on lap 98.
All racing series will enjoy a week off before returning to action on the weekend of April 26. The MENCS will next compete at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. EDT on FOX. The Xfinity Series also races at Talladega on Saturday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, along with the ARCA Menards Series on Friday, April 26.
NHRA travels to Charlotte to compete in the Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway with coverage on Sunday, April 28 on FS1 beginning at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Formula DRIFT will also compete on Saturday, April 27 in Orlando, Florida, at Orlando Speedway for Round 2 of competition.