Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Daytona International Speedway
Race 1 of 33 – 300 miles, 120 laps
February 16, 2019
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Michael Annett*
2nd, Justin Allgaier*
3rd, BRANDON JONES
4th, Ryan Sieg*
5th, Austin Cindric*
6th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
15th, JEFFREY EARNHARDT
16th, JOEY GASE
19th, TIMMY HILL
25th, VINNIE MILLER
26th, MATT MILLS
28th, MAX TULLMAN
32nd, JOHN JACKSON
33rd, DJ KENNINGTON
TOYOTA DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, BRANDON JONES 49 points
2nd, Ross Chastain* 43 points
3rd, Michael Annett* 42 points
6th, CHRISTOPHER BELL 39 points
9th, JEFFREY EARNHARDT 35 points
**unofficial point standings
The Toyota Supra debuted in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) event at Daytona International Speedway, marking the first time Toyota has run a car other than the Camry in NASCAR competition.
Brandon Jones (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday afternoon’s race while Christopher Bell (sixth) also finished in the top 10.
Jeffrey Earnhardt (15th) led a career-best 29 laps (of 120) during his first NXS race driving a Toyota while Supra drivers combined for 41 laps led on the day.
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 Juniper Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How did you see the closing laps?
“I mean, you could just tell everybody was so scared to get out of line there and then lose the pack. Me and Justin (Allgaier) just talked after the race and we thought that that 1 (Michael Annett), whenever he tried to swing that block, that was going to be the ticket to get by him. Just not enough momentum. Just very hard to get going there, but the Supra looked great on the race track for the debut of it. Juniper was back on the car for us this weekend, so I can’t complain. We had a great day. It was a great start to the year.”
How did the new Supra feel during the race today?
“It was awesome. It looks great, it drives great. I’m really, really happy to be a part of Toyota and to drive the Supra. I think that it’s going to have a lot of success here in 2019. I’m looking forward to seeing what it really does at a mile-and-a-half track.”
Did you have trouble getting a run going toward the end of the race?
“Yeah, I mean there were a couple of times where you’d kind of get a run and you’re just so scared to use it and pull out of line. There’s a couple guys and a couple back that the spotter was saying that they’re trying to work the draft and just never could get a bottom pack to form to launch us forward. All in all, it was a great day for team Toyota, for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). I was really impressed on how the Supra handled.”
Are you happy to have a solid points day to open the season?
“This is amazing. You always come to Daytona with what if you don’t make it out of this one. We finished great in both stages and a great finish at the end. All in all I think we can improve on our qualifying performance a little bit, but a great day for us.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How was your first race in the Supra?
“It was really good. I feel like our Supra, or at least the speedway Supra, was a lot better than our speedway Camry, so that’s a good start. I’m really excited to see how the Supra is on our downforce package going to Atlanta and all the 1.5-mile and short tracks.”
Could you get anything to develop there on that last lap?
“Not really. I tried to just go low, but nobody else went, so I didn’t have a car to tow off of. That was that.”
JEFFREY EARNHARDT, No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 15th
How did it feel leading laps at Daytona today?
“We didn’t lead enough. We didn’t lead the last one and that’s the most important one. We made adjustments because I felt like I was complaining about it being too free and we ended up getting it too tight there and we just struggled a little bit after that. Man, I was getting my butt kicked on everyone side drafting. Just lack of experience. I’ll get better at it. This was the first time to actually get to race upfront like that. It was a lot of fun. I think all three of us (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars showed a lot of strength. They made big improvements in the offseason. I think we’ll be really good for the rest of the superspeedways. Just lacked a little bit on my part today.”
Did it feel good to be out in front of the field leading today?
“It was nice. I’m not going to lie. It’s always good when you can get your sponsor a lot of air time leading the race. It’s never good when you get them air time wrecking. I can’t thank iK9, Xtreme Concepts and all of the guys. All of the guys at Gibbs. They really have welcomed me with open arms. Toyota and all of the support that they’ve given me already. Hopefully we continue to grow this program and grow myself as a driver. We won’t let them get away from us anymore.”