Kyle Busch and Chandler Smith Victorious in Toyotas
Kyle Busch made it a perfect season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) with his fifth win while Chandler Smith was victorious in a rain-shortened ARCA Menards Series event.
In the NGOTS race, Kyle Busch closed out his 2019 Truck Series campaign going undefeated in his fifth and final race of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After starting from the eighth position, Busch jumped to the front of the field on Lap 5, going on to lead 102 laps (of 134) to capture his eighth career-series win at the 1.5-mile track.
“Everything had to come together and everything had to align to be able to do what we did here this year with going five for five,” said Busch. “It feels good.”
Tundra driver Brennan Poole captured a career-best second-place finish in his 10th Truck Series start while Toyota teammates Austin Hill (sixth), Todd Gilliland (seventh) and Anthony Alfredo (eighth) also finished in the top 10.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ (MENCS) second non-points event of the season, Busch again led Toyota drivers, finishing third in the All-Star race. Busch led 15 laps (of 85) in the second stage of the four-stage event.
“We had a really fast M&M’s Camry,” said Busch. “I probably was the only guy to pass for the lead after a given set of laps. On restarts, we couldn’t go anywhere, we just weren’t fast enough, but we had long run speed. That’s all there is to it.”
All four Joe Gibbs Racing Camry’s qualified for the event after capturing wins in the 2018 MENCS season.
Antron Brown advanced to the Top Fuel final, while J.R. Todd did the same in Funny Car as both drivers were the top-finishing Toyota drivers in the NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on Sunday.
After advancing to the final round, Brown had a sizable advantage early and took a three-hundredths of a second lead to the 330-foot mark, maintaining the lead until around the 800-foot mark when he was chased down for the win.
“We were really gaining ground on a hot, hot track today,” said Brown. “In the final, the car was running well, then we dropped a hole out there, but I didn’t do my job on the starting line. We’ll just get back after them, but I really thought this was going to be our time to get the win.”
In Funny Car, Todd proved to be the dominant driver through much of the day with his DHL Camry running the quickest times of both the second and third round. With the runner-up finish, he is now second in the Funny Car point standings.
Toyota drivers took the top-four spots in the ARCA event on Sunday at Toledo Speedway. Development driver Chandler Smith led 140 laps (of 152) in the rain-shortened event after Toyota teammate Michael Self started from the pole before finishing fourth.
“Whenever you’re the leader and you can see rain coming and the race is past halfway, you want it to hurry up and get there,” Smith said. “These Venturini Motorsports guys do a great job giving me race cars that can dominate these races. I drive them the same way I drive my late model cars and that’s where we were able to beat them all today. We had more drive off the corners and that’s what it took.”
Toyota drivers Ty Gibbs (second), Christian Eckes (third) and Self finished behind Smith. Hailie Deegan also made her first series start, finishing 18th following an on-track incident early in the race.
Toyota driver Logan Seavey led 13 laps on the way to a second-place finish at the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ feature event at Tri-City Speedway on Friday night.
“I got out front and I was running pretty good, but then the 7C (Tyler Courtney) got by,” said Seavey. “We were really good at the start of the race and strong through the middle portion, but we need to be better in the last 10 laps. I can’t thank everyone at Keith Kunz Motorsports and Toyota enough for sticking with me. We’ve started the season off slow, but we showed a lot of improvement tonight and now we need to keep improving tomorrow.”
Overall, Toyota-powered drivers captured seven of the top-10 finishing positions.
The MENCS returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Memorial Day Weekend where Camry drivers will compete on Sunday, May 26 at 6 p.m. EDT on FOX. The ARCA Menards Series opens the weekend at the 1.5-mile track with a race on Thursday, May 23 at 9 p.m. EDT on FS1 while the NASCAR Xfinity Series will race on Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m. EDT on FS1.