This Week in Motorsports – July 15 – 21, 2019
Toyota Racing On-Track this Week
· MENCS/NXS/NKNPSE: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, New Hampshire) – July 20-21
· NHRA: Bandimere Speedway (Morrison, Colorado) – July 21
· Formula Drift: Evergreen Speedway (Monroe, Washington) – July 20
NASCAR National Series – MENCS | NXS
Lobster Connection… Toyota has nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with Camry drivers most recently posting victories at the one-mile track when Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch swept a pair of races in 2017. Hamlin has the highest average finish (10.2) among active drivers and has scored top-10 finishes in over half of his starts at the track. In addition to his win in 2017, Hamlin also won in a Toyota in 2012 after scoring his first victory in 2007.
Closing In… Camry drivers Busch, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have all solidified a spot in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs while Erik Jones (currently 16th in driver standings) and Matt DiBenedetto (25th in standings) still hope to make their way to victory lane to guarantee their own spot in the Round of 16. Jones has scored four top-10 finishes in his last six starts, including two of his season-best third-place finishes. He most recently contended for the win at Kentucky Speedway, battling Busch and his brother, Kurt, in the thrilling overtime finish. While Jones has only one top-10 finish at New Hampshire in the Cup Series, he has experience making his way around the one-mile track as he scored three top 10s in three combined starts in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series.
New England Dreaming… While the Supra race car will make its first trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Toyota drivers have four consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at the track and nine total. Christopher Bell is the defending race winner after scoring a victory last July when he led 93 laps (of 200). It was Bell’s second of three consecutive race wins. Bell’s teammate, Brandon Jones, could also extend Toyota’s winning ways in New England as he looks to improve on a sixth-place finish from last year’s event while Harrison Burton will make his first appearance at the track in the series.
A Place of Firsts for Todd… When J.R. Todd arrives in Denver this week, he will be returning to a track that’s played host to two major firsts in his career. He earned his first career Top Fuel win at Bandimere Speedway on the way to the 2006 NHRA Auto Club Road to the Future award, which recognizes NHRA’s top performing rookie driver. Then, after going without a full-time ride from 2009 to 2013, Todd recorded another Mile High Nationals milestone when he registered his first victory for Kalitta Motorsports in 2014. He went on to finish second overall in the point standings that season and cemented a relationship that has seen him earn 12 wins and a Funny Car world championship with the team.
Brown’s Western Swing Sweep Distinction… Antron Brown heads to Denver this weekend holding the distinction of being the last Top Fuel driver to sweep NHRA’s Western Swing when he was victorious in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma in 2009. The long-time Toyota driver has won 11 times on the Western Swing beginning with his 2009 sweep. Among those victories were three at the Mile High Nationals (2017, 2012, 2009), to go along with one runner-up showing (2016).
Halfway Home… Formula Drift eclipses the halfway point of the 2019 season with Round 5 at Evergreen Speedway on Saturday. Toyota drivers head to the Washington track with plenty of momentum as Frederic Aasbø and Ryan Tuerck swept the top-two positions in the last two events at Road Atlanta and New Jersey’s Wall Speedway, respectively. Aasbø currently leads the point standings while Tuerck is third. Heading into Evergreen Speedway, Tuerck finished runner-up in last year’s event, scoring his first podium finish since March 2017.
Regional Stock Car Racing – NKNPSE
Wicked Good in K&N East… Toyota drivers have won four of five K&N Pro Series East events this season with Derek Kraus leading the way after securing two victories at New Smyrna Speedway and South Boston Speedway. Tyler Ankrum and Todd Gilliland won the last two July events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as Camry drivers have posted a combined eight victories at the New England track.