April Brings Trophies to Toyota Drivers
Toyota drivers flexed their muscles over the weekend, winning in multiple racing series, including wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) in Tennessee, NHRA in Las Vegas and USAC competition in Indiana.
Kyle Busch collected his third Cup Series win of the season on Sunday, crossing the finish line first at Bristol Motor Speedway. After battling back from an early incident, Busch led 71 laps (of 500) to capture his eighth-career MENCS win at Bristol.
“We just do what we do, try to win. It's pretty awesome to be able to snooker those guys, get our win today here at Bristol,” said Busch, who stayed out for track position on the final caution before the checkered flag. “Love this place. It was fun to battle out the brother there at the end. I know we didn't quite get side?by?side racing it out. I saw him working the top. I'm like, I better go. I got up there, was able to make some ground. The Skittles Camry wasn't the best today, but we made the most of not having the best and got everything we needed here at the end.”
Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate, Denny Hamlin, earned a fifth-place result on Sunday. Busch and Hamlin currently rank first and second, respectively, in the Cup Series point standings. The duo has combined to win five of the first eight races this season.
Christopher Bell won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol, leading the field for 57 laps (of 300). The win marks Bell’s second victory in the Supra this season and his first at Bristol.
“These Supras are super, super fast,” said Bell in victory lane. “Joe Gibbs Racing has a really, really good package here at Bristol, but for whatever reason we struggled to find it. I didn’t feel good basically all of practice and didn’t qualify good and as soon as they dropped the green flag for the race I was really, really loose. The longer the runs went, the better I got. I’m just very thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing driving for such a wonderful team.”
With the win, Bell earned the Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash bonus and qualifies for the next Dash 4 Cash event on Friday night at Richmond Raceway.
Eighteen-year-old Harrison Burton recorded a 10th-place finish in his Xfinity Series debut on Saturday in a Joe Gibbs Racing Supra.
In Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol, five Toyota drivers finished in the top-10 with Camry driver Chase Cabre recording a runner-up result.
Reigning Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to his first win of the season in Sunday’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. The triumph is Todd’s third consecutive win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after sweeping both events in 2018.
“It seems like these DHL Toyota Camrys always run well here,” said Todd, after securing the sixth win for a Kalitta Camry in the last 11 Las Vegas events. “The whole team has a really good handle on this place, especially my crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer. It seems like the more we come here, the better grip they get on this place. We struggled early this year with cold tracks and shaking the tires. I knew that it was eventually going to warm up, and sure enough, it was hot and nasty here today.”
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta advanced to the final round and continues to sit on top of the point standings after four races.
Toyota driver Kevin Thomas Jr. won Saturday’s USAC National Midget Series’ Kokomo Grand Prix at the Kokomo Speedway. The win marked the 10th national midget feature win for a Toyota-powered driver in 2019.
Corolla Hatchback driver Fredric Aasbø advanced to the final four and finished fourth in Saturday’s season-opening Formula DRIFT event on the Streets of Long Beach. After Aasbø advanced to the final four, he had a spark plug issue that ended his chase run early. Ryan Tuerck qualified seventh, but was involved in a practice accident prior to the Round of 32 and did not participate in Saturday’s round at Long Beach due to damage to his Toyota 86.
NASCAR heads to Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners race weekend. The ToyotaCare 250 NXS race is on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. EDT on FS1, and the Toyota Owners 400 MENCS race takes place on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on FOX.
NHRA travels to Houston to compete in the Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park with coverage beginning on Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 p.m. EDT on FOX.
The ARCA Racing Series will also race this weekend at Indiana’s Salem Speedway on Sunday, April 14 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.