Toyota NASCAR Richmond Advance
Week of September 4 – 10
On a Roll: As the regular season comes to a close, Toyota certainly has plenty to look back on as it sits atop the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) manufacturer point standings for the first time this season after Camry driver Denny Hamlin won the Southern 500 at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway – and Hamlin also swept the race weekend by winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Darlington too. In addition to now holding the manufacturer point lead, Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. secured the regular-season championship and Toyota has four drivers ranked in the top 16 in the playoff standings. To date, Toyota Cup drivers have led a season-high 3,722 laps (53 percent of all laps run) and claimed six wins in the last eight MENCS races.
Richmond Review: Toyota Cup drivers have had success in the last two Richmond fall races, capturing wins in 2015 (Matt Kenseth) and 2016 (Hamlin), while combining to lead 92 percent of total laps run. Since 2005, Kyle Busch and Hamlin have reigned supreme at Richmond, leading the most laps among active drivers as Virginia-native Hamlin (1,653 laps led) leads Busch (1,019) and the remainder of the field. Meanwhile, Busch continues to lead active drivers with the most wins at Richmond (4) and the highest average finish (7.3).
Playoff Season on the Horizon: Richmond Raceway marks the final event of the Cup Series regular season, giving drivers one last chance to make it the 2017 Playoffs. Thus far, Toyota Camry drivers Busch, Hamlin and Truex have all captured wins to solidify their spot in the playoffs. Last week at Darlington, Truex clinched the MENCS regular-season championship and secured 15 additional bonus points to carry into the Playoffs. With only one race left, Matt Kenseth currently sits 15th in playoff standings, just one point ahead of the final 16th playoff position, while Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez must win to get in. Jones is coming off his fifth-straight top-10 finish and third-consecutive top-five result following a fifth-place result at Darlington as he eyes victory lane at Richmond on Saturday night.
Toyota Donates to Hurricane Harvey Relief: As fellow Texans, Toyota is all-in to support the recovery of those impacted by the effects of Hurricane Harvey and is encouraging race fans to help those affected by supporting organizations that are part of the Toyota4Good and Toyota’s Mother of Invention (MOI) programs. Through MOI, Toyota is partnering with DayOne Response and Well Aware, an Austin-based organization that will assist with water distribution and purification, along with LuminAID to bring water purification bags, portable phone chargers and lanterns to those affected by Harvey. The Toyota4Good program has also closely aligned with the American Red Cross and St. Bernard Project (SBP) to provide an immediate response to and long-term rebuilding of impacted communities. In addition, Toyota Motor North America is partnering with Toyota Financial Services, The Friedkin Group, Gulf States Toyota and Toyota and Lexus dealers nationwide to provide a combined relief effort of over $3 million. The group’s relief efforts include funds to organizations such as the SBP and American Red Cross, matching contributions, in-kind donations, volunteerism, and the donation of pre-owned vehicles. To continue raising awareness of Toyota’s relief efforts and to encourage donations, Kenseth will drive the No. 20 Hurricane Relief Toyota Camry at Richmond this weekend.
Toyota at Richmond – Notes & Numbers:
Christopher Bell makes his fourth-career NXS start at Richmond on Friday, joining Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Busch and Matt Tifft in the race … Toyota drivers have captured eight NXS wins at Richmond with Busch winning four races in a Toyota Camry … Looking ahead to the NXS playoffs, Tifft sits ninth in the playoff standings with two races remaining in the regular season.
Toyota 2017 Statistics: