This Week in Motorsports – July 22 – 28, 2019
Toyota Racing On-Track this Week
· MENCS/NGOTS/ARCA: Pocono Raceway (Long Pond, Pennsylvania) – July 26-28
· NXS/NKNPSE/NKNPSW: Iowa Speedway (Newton, Iowa) – July 26-27
· NHRA: Sonoma Raceway (Sonoma, California) – July 28
· POWRi: Belle-Clair Speedway (Belleville, Illinois) – July 26
Macon Speedway (Macon, Illinois) – July 27
NASCAR National Series – MENCS | NXS| NGOTS
Coming off a great weekend… For the second time in the last five races, all five full-time Toyota teams finished inside the top 10 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last Sunday. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch led 231 of 300 laps. Hamlin finished second and Busch ended up eighth. They were joined inside the top 10 by Erik Jones (third), Matt DiBenedetto (fifth) and Martin Truex Jr. (sixth).
Toyota likes the triangle… Toyota Camry drivers have won the last four Pocono events. Busch has claimed three of those victories, including picking up the trophy at the first Pocono Raceway event of the season in June. Busch led the last 21 laps to score his most recent of 55 career MENCS wins. Busch has also achieved victory at the last two July events at the ‘Tricky Triangle’ with Toyota teammate Truex Jr. getting the win at the June race one year ago.
Last week’s winner strong in Iowa… Christopher Bell comes into Iowa the most recent race winner. Bell dominated at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading 186 of 200 laps in the Toyota Supra for his fifth win of the season. Now, Bell heads to Iowa where he scored his first career pole award in just his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) start in 2017. Since becoming full-time in the NXS, Bell has two wins and has not finished worse than second. In the last three events, Bell has led 282 of a combined 757 laps run. Bell won this race one year ago and claimed victory again at the first race of the season at the track in June.
Playoff clinching… In just his 12th career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) start, Tyler Ankrum scored his first career win at Kentucky Speedway. Despite missing the first three races of the season due to an age restriction, the now 18-year-old Ankrum has received a waiver and will compete for the NGOTS championship. He is the second Toyota driver to clinch his spot in the eight-driver Playoff field alongside Austin Hill, who locked up his slot with his win in the season opening event at Daytona International Speedway.
Recent truck success… Toyota has won the last four NGOTS events at Pocono Raceway. Busch started the winning ways in 2015 and added another victory one season ago. Current Xfinity Series championship contender Bell (2017) and former Toyota driver William Bryon complete the recent winning history.
Sonoma special for Kalitta…Doug Kalitta returns to the site of his first Top Fuel win when NHRA heads to Sonoma Raceway this week. The Toyota Top Fuel driver defeated Bruce Sarver in the finals in 1998 for the first of 45 Top Fuel victories. It was one of five victories (2005, 2004, 2000, 1999, 1998) for Kalitta in Sonoma, where he ranks as the track’s all-time Top Fuel win leader.
Toyota dragsters shine in Sonoma…Toyota Top Fuel drivers have excelled at Sonoma Raceway, earning eight victories at the northern California track since 2009. Antron Brown has scored four wins (2015, 2012, 2011, 2009) along with J.R. Todd (2016), Shawn Langdon (2013) and former Toyota drivers Khalid alBalooshi (2014) and Larry Dixon (2010).
Todd, Langdon eye milestone win…Both Toyota Camry Funny Car drivers will be looking for a milestone victory this weekend at the Sonoma Nationals. With a win, Todd would join Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme as the only drivers in NHRA history to win multiple races at one track in both Nitro classes (Top Fuel and Funny Car). Todd won in Top Fuel in 2006 and 2016, along with earning his first-ever Funny Car win in Sonoma in 2017. Langdon will look to follow in his teammate’s footsteps in becoming just the third driver in Sonoma Raceway history to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at the track. Only Todd and Prudhomme have achieved that feat to date. Todd and Langdon are two of just 17 drivers in NHRA history to win a race in both classes.
Regional Stock Car Racing – ARCA| NKNPSE| NKNPSW
Toyota streaking in the combination events… For the first time this season, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) and West (NKNPSW) will be competing in a combination event at Iowa Speedway. Toyota has won the last five combination events at Iowa Speedway with Ankrum adding to the win total last season, leading the final 48 laps to score the victory on his way to the NKNPSE title. This year, championship contenders and Toyota drivers Derek Kraus, Hailie Deegan, Chase Cabre, Tanner Gray and Max McLaughlin will look to continue the recent Toyota success.
First time feeling… Venturini Motorsports scored their first 1-2-3 finish at the ARCA Menards Series’ most recent stop at Iowa Speedway. Chandler Smith scored his fourth win of the season by leading 140 of 150 laps. Teammates Christian Eckes and Michael Self completed the Toyota sweep and head into Pocono Raceway battling for the championship. With six races to go, Self has a 90-point lead over second place. Eckes, who missed a race earlier this year due to illness, holds down third, 110 points back.
Midget Racing – POWRi
Colwell giving back… Jesse Colwell earned his seat with the Keith Kunz Motorsports’ (KKM) Toyota team by winning the inaugural KKM Giveback Classic last fall at Millbridge Speedway. Of late, it’s been the Red Bluff, California, native who’s been giving back to the KKM team. After his first national midget feature win at Humboldt Speedway, Colwell will take the POWRi points lead into this weekend’s double-header in Illinois with a Friday night race at Belle-Clair Speedway and Saturday’s feature at Macon Speedway.
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