Toyota NASCAR Bristol Advance 8.15.17

by Official Release On Tue, Aug. 15, 2017

Toyota NASCAR Bristol Advance
Week of August 14 – 20

Toyota Drivers Hit Stride: With only three races remaining in the regular season, Toyota drivers have hit their stride by winning four of the last six races (Kentucky, New Hampshire, Pocono, Watkins Glen) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). Although Camry driver and current points leader Martin Truex Jr. has long since solidified a spot in the 2017 NASCAR playoffs with four wins this season, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch recently secured victories to join Truex in the championship run. After debuting its newly redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry race car to start 2017, Toyota drivers have captured the Camry’s 100th MENCS victory at Pocono (July 29) and led a season-high 3,089 laps (50 percent of laps run). In the last six races alone, Toyota drivers have accounted for 81 percent of laps led. The Toyota contingent heads to Bristol on a high, returning to the short track where the manufacturer has eight MENCS wins, including two by Matt Kenseth, who hopes to secure a spot in the playoffs.

Outside Looking In: Three Toyota drivers have all but secured a spot in the 2017 playoffs with wins this season – Busch (one win), Hamlin (one), and Truex (four), while three Camry drivers remain on the cusp. Kenseth is currently ninth in points to sit above the playoff cutoff, while rookies Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez must maintain points and capture a victory to make championship runs. Jones most recently tied his career-best finish of third at Michigan, while Kenseth and Suárez both had four-consecutive top-10 finishes after Watkins Glen, but accidents at Michigan ended their streaks. At Bristol, Kenseth owns the highest driver rating (100.2) and has four-career wins at the ‘Last Great Coliseum,’ including two in a Toyota Camry. Jones is also no stranger to Bristol’s victory lane, where he has two NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) wins, including one earlier this year.

Triple the Fun: Busch takes on the ‘Last Great Coliseum’ across all three national series this week, competing in the No. 46 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra, the No. 18 NXS Joe Gibbs Racing Camry and the No. 18 MENCS Joe Gibbs Racing Camry. In 2010 at Bristol, Busch became the first driver to sweep all three national series races in a single race weekend and continues to be the only driver to accomplish the triple win in NASCAR history. The last time Busch attempted to sweep Bristol, he came up just short in fall 2015 when he collected second, a win and eighth-place result in the NCWTS, NXS and MENCS races, respectively. Should Busch or multiple Toyota drivers sweep Bristol, it will be the sixth weekend in 2017 that Toyota has swept, including Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway/Iowa Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

Youth In Numbers: As youth continues to dominate the NASCAR conversation, Toyota proudly boasts a number of drivers under the age of 25 across all three national series. While Cup rookies Jones (21 years old) and Suárez (25) compete in their first year of MENCS competition, Matt Tifft (21) holds strong in the NXS and six drivers make up NCWTS competition. Tifft most recently captured a career-best, third-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and heads to Bristol where he has two previous NXS starts. Two-year NCWTS ‘veteran’ and up-and-coming driver Christopher Bell (22) leads the series points standings, while Ben Rhodes (20), Ryan Truex (25) and Cody Coughlin (21) are sixth, seventh and 13th, respectively. Kyle Busch Motorsports newcomer Noah Gragson (19) is also competing in his first season, while Harrison Burton (16) will make his Bristol debut.

Staying Connected: You can follow Toyota Racing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and online at www.toyotaracing.com. For media images, please visit www.toyotaracingmedia.com.

Toyota at Bristol – Notes & Numbers:

Kyle Busch has the most laps led in the MENCS at Bristol among active drivers –and the ninth most in Cup history – with 1,960 circuits led. The next closest active competitor is Matt Kenseth with 1,572 laps.  Busch and his brother Kurt Busch are tied for the most Cup wins at Bristol among active drivers with five.

 
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