This Week in Motorsports – March 11– 17, 2019
Toyota Racing On-Track this Week
· MENCS/NXS: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, California) – March 15-17
· NHRA: Gainesville Speedway (Gainesville, Florida) – March 14-17
NASCAR National Series – MENCS | NXS
Home Sweet Home… Auto Club Speedway is a home race for TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development), which was formed a stone’s throw from John Wayne Airport in Costa Mesa, California, in 1979. During this track’s 20-plus year history, Toyota and Lexus drivers have won virtually every type of race they’ve competed in, including three in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), nine NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) events, four NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) races, one Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) event and two GRAND-AM Road Racing races on Auto Club Speedway’s road course. Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. is the defending MENCS race winner at the two-mile track after winning there for the first time in 2018.
The Quest of the West… NASCAR wraps its third-consecutive week on the West Coast after visiting Nevada and Arizona, with a trip to Auto Club Speedway this weekend. In five NASCAR national series events over a two-week span, Toyota driver Kyle Busch has won four of them including one MENCS event, two NXS events and one NGOTS event. Busch also swept the NASCAR race weekend at ISM Raceway to earn his 12th-career MENCS and NXS weekend sweep. After four MENCS events in 2019, Busch is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in every race this season. He is knocking on history’s doorstep as he currently has a combined 199 wins across the three NASCAR national series (52 MENCS, 94 NXS and 53 NGOTS). He looks for his 200th NASCAR national series win this weekend in The Golden State and is slated to run in both the MENCS and NXS races.
Supra Start to 2019… The Toyota Supra is off to a fast start in its first season in the NXS. Supra drivers have won three of the first four events in 2019 including Christopher Bell who won at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Busch who won back-to-back events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway. Supra drivers have finished inside the top three in each NXS race this season and look to do the same at Auto Club Speedway where Toyota drivers have nine wins. In addition to Supra drivers in the NXS off to a hot start in 2019, Toyota drivers have excelled early in both the MENCS and NGOTS, winning two of four MENCS races (Daytona International Speedway and ISM Raceway) and the first three NGOTS races (Daytona International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway).
No. 19 Ready for 2019 in the NXS… Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 19 Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing, has begun his 2019 NXS campaign with speed. In four NXS events this season, Jones has finished seventh or better in three of them and has already matched his top-five finishes from last year with two. In three career races at Auto Club Speedway, Jones has a best-finish of ninth in 2016. He is currently fifth in the NXS points standings after four races and looks for his first career NASCAR national series win at Auto Club Speedway.
NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car
Todd Keeps Championship Pace… After reaching the NHRA Funny Car final round at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Chandler, Arizona) in the second contest of the season, Camry driver J.R. Todd has now advanced to seven Funny Car finals in the last nine events, including five victories. The reigning Funny Car champion looks for his first Gatornationals victory this weekend, which would give him a win in each of the NHRA’s three biggest races – the U.S. Nationals (Funny Car in 2017 and 2018), the Winternationals (Top Fuel in 2007) and the Gatornationals.
Crampton Eyes Repeat…Toyota Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton enters this weekend’s event as the defending Gatornationals champion after defeating Shawn Reed in the finals in 2018. The Australian looks for his first win of the season in his new DHL Toyota dragster.
Unfinished Business… Eight drag racing legends will compete in identically-prepared Toyota Camrys in this weekend’s NHRA Unfinished Business event in Gainesville. “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, Kenny Bernstein, Joe Amato, Ed “the Ace” McCullough, Kenny Vance and Warren Johnson all will take part in the three-day event. In addition to racing the cars, each driver helped create the custom look of the Camrys they will compete in.