This Week in Motorsports – Oct. 8 – 14, 2018
Toyota Racing On-Track this Week
· MENCS/NCWTS: Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Alabama) – Oct. 12-14
· NHRA: zMax Dragway (Concord, North Carolina) – Oct. 12-14
· Formula DRIFT: Irwindale Speedway (Irwindale, California) – Oct. 12-13
· NKNPSW: All-American Speedway (Roseville, California) – Oct. 13
· POWRi: Jacksonville Speedway (Jacksonville, Illinois) – Oct. 12
Belle-Clair Speedway (Belleville, Illinois) – Oct. 13
NASCAR National Series – MENCS | NXS | NCWTS
Dodging The Talladega Wildcard… Following the opening Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Playoffs race at Dover, Toyota playoff drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. sit third and fourth, respectively in the postseason standings heading into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Both Busch and Truex need quality finishes to keep themselves in the best position to advance to the Round of 8 after Kansas Speedway next week. Toyota last registered a win at Talladega in 2014 when Denny Hamlin captured a win in the spring event. Busch also earned a Toyota victory at Talladega in 2008.
Bell Makes History at Dover… Camry driver Christopher Bell made history last weekend at Dover when he won his sixth NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race of the 2018 season. His six victories during his rookie season broke the all-time rookie wins record of five wins, surpassing Busch, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. Heading into the Round of 8, Bell remains the number one-seeded driver in the Xfinity Series Playoffs. The series is off this week before beginning the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway.
Talladega Truckin’… Heading into this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoffs elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway, Tundra drivers Noah Gragson (fourth) and Brett Moffitt (fifth) are in prime position in the postseason standings to advance to the Round of 6. Given the unknown nature and wildcard opportunity Talladega presents, both Toyota drivers will need strong finishes to secure their spot in the second round of the playoffs. In one career Truck Series start at Talladega, Gragson finished 14th (2017) while Moffit will make his first NASCAR national series start at Talladega this weekend.
NHRA Drag Racing Series
Todd In Title Fight… Toyota driver J.R. Todd enters the final three NHRA races of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs in second place, just 50 points out of the Funny Car lead. The Camry driver has registered an 11-2 win-loss record over the last four races. In Countdown competition, he has advanced to the final round in two of three races, winning at Maple Grove Raceway (Pennsylvania). His four victories this season tie him for the series lead while his first-round win at Charlotte became his 34th round win of the season, double the total of his Funny Car rookie season in 2017.
Pedregon Looks For Charlotte Sweep… After winning the Charlotte Four-Wides this spring, Cruz Pedregon will attempt to complete the zMAX Dragway sweep this weekend. The two-time Funny Car world champion previously won the fall Charlotte event in 2010. Pedregon fell just short of qualifying for this year’s Countdown, but has registered round wins at each of the first three playoff races and has outscored five of the 10 Countdown competitors.
Toyota Top Fuel Drivers Shine At Carolina Nationals… Toyota Top Fuel drivers have won seven of the last eight Carolina Nationals. Doug Kalitta is the defending champion after defeating teammate Richie Crampton in an all-Toyota showdown a year ago. In addition, Antron Brown earned victories in 2016, 2015 and 2011, while former Toyota driver Morgan Lucas (2013), Shawn Langdon (2012) and former Toyota driver Larry Dixon (2010) each took home top honors once.
Toyota Earns Fifth-Consecutive Manufacturer Title… Toyota secured its fifth-consecutive Formula DRIFT (FD) manufacturer championship with two top-five results in last month’s Round 7 ‘The Showdown’ at Texas Motor Speedway. This year’s title was clinched on the strength of Toyota drivers who earned two wins, six podium finishes and 23 top-16 showings over the first seven events of the eight-race season. Fredric Aasbø piloted the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback to both of Toyota’s 2018 victories with wins in Long Beach and St. Louis.
Aasbø Aiming for Title… As the Formula DRIFT season-finale approaches this weekend at California’s Irwindale Speedway, Toyota driver Aasbø will be looking for a victory to score his second career championship. Aasbø sits 49 points behind current leader James Deane, and will need a win to contend for the championship. Aasbø has had a championship-worthy season collecting two wins (Long Beach and Gateway) and five podiums. He has one career victory at Irwindale that came in 2015 – the same year he previously won the series title proving nothing is out of reach.
Regional Stock Car Racing – NASCAR K&N Pro Series
Rouse and Kraus Ready for Title Battle… Toyota drivers Cole Rouse and Derek Kraus are third and fourth, respectively, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) standings as the series heads to All-American Speedway this weekend with two races remaining in the 2018 season. In 12 starts this season, Rouse has six top-fives and 11 top-10s, with 101 laps led. Kraus has had a strong season by many standards with three wins and 569 laps led. The pair will look to win Toyota’s fourth-consecutive driver championship in the NKNPSW.
Deegan Aims for Back-to-back… Camry driver Hailie Deegan continues her historic rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this weekend and is aiming for back-to-back victories. In her last race at Meridian Speedway, Deegan became the first female race winner in the history of the series. One race before at Las Vegas, she became the first female to earn a pole position. She has one win, five top-fives and 10 top-10s in 12 races this season and will make her first NKNPSW appearance at All-American Speedway this weekend.
Ankrum Crowned Champion at Dover… Toyota driver Tyler Ankrum was officially crowned the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) champion at Dover International Speedway. The 17-year-old rookie and California-native clinched the championship behind the strength of four victories and 12 top-10 finishes this season. Ankrum joined David Gilliland Racing at the start of 2018, contributing to Toyota’s almost perfect season sweep as the manufacturer had a Camry in victory lane in all but two races. Ankrum is the fifth Toyota driver to capture a NKNPSE title, joining Ryan Truex (2009 and 2010), Max Gresham (2011), Kyle Larson (2012) and Harrison Burton (2017). Toyota drivers have now captured a combined 11 championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series with six in the East and five in the West.
Midget Racing – POWRi
McKenna Set To Debut with Tucker-Boat… Sprint car star McKenna Haase will join the Toyota-powered Tucker-Boat Motorsports team for this weekend’s POWRi double-header in Illinois. She made history in 2015 when she became the only woman in history to win a sprint car race at the historic Knoxville Raceway (she now has five). Haase is the eighth different woman to race a Toyota-powered midget in national competition this season.
Get To Know – Riley Herbst
Nineteen-year-old Riley Herbst is already living his dream as a full-time ARCA Racing Series driver for Joe Gibbs Racing where he’s competing in his second season with the team.
Earlier this year, Herbst had the experience of a lifetime when he was called to make three starts for his childhood idol’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. After opening the three-race stint with a top-10 finish at Gateway Motorsports Park, Herbst also made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, capturing a sixth-place finish at Iowa Speedway in June.
“The NASCAR national series experience was a dream come true for me, especially with the Truck Series,” said Herbst. “I never thought I would drive for one of my childhood heroes – Kyle Busch – and his team. We had solid debuts in both of those series and I was happy with how they turned out. I was honored to be a part of it.”
Like Busch, Herbst is also from Las Vegas, Nevada. He grew up in a racing family – perhaps one of the biggest off-road racing families. Herbst’s father Troy, grandfather Jerry and uncles Ed and Tim were all inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. They raced buggies and off-road trucks and competed in some of the biggest races, including the Baja 500 and Baja 1000.
When Herbst was only five years old, he started his own racing journey after his family gifted him a vehicle of his own.
“My fifth birthday I got a go-kart and it was the greatest gift of my life,” Herbst said. “My family has been into racing and off road racing. I’ve always had a passion for racing and it started with that kart.”
From karting to stock cars, Herbst’s immediate sights are now set on his final ARCA Racing Series event in Kansas next week. In 19 starts this season, Herbst has seven top-fives and 14 top-10s. He currently sits third in the ARCA points standings.
And after ARCA?
“I want to make it to the Cup Series one day and consistently be a winner at that level,” he said. “That’s my ultimate goal and I am going to do whatever I can to make that happen.”