This Week in Motorsports: July 20-26, 2020
· NCS/NXS/NGROTS/ARCA: Kansas Speedway (Kansas City, Kansas) – July 23-25
PLANO, Texas (July 22, 2020) – The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) kicks off the Kansas Speedway race weekend, which features five races in three days, including the first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) doubleheader.
NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS | NGROTS
Hamlin Most Recent Kansas Winner… Denny Hamlin drove to his fifth win of 2019 last fall at Kansas Speedway, clinching a spot in the Round of 8 before making a Championship 4 appearance. Hamlin is responsible for two of Toyota’s six Cup Series Kansas victories, having also scored Toyota’s first NCS victory at Kansas Speedway in 2012.
Playoff Positioning… With eight races remaining before the NCS Playoffs begin, three Toyota drivers currently hold Playoff positions. Hamlin, on the strength of a series-leading four victories as well as Martinsville winner, Martin Truex Jr., have clinched, while Kyle Busch is currently projected to have a 14th-place positioning based on points. After a solid top-10 finish in Texas, Erik Jones currently sits just 24 points out of securing a Playoff spot for the third straight season.
Jones’ First Win… Brandon Jones will have fond memories as he returns to Kansas Speedway – a place he drove to his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) victory last fall. Jones led the final 10 laps and survived a final restart to score the win. Since then, Jones added a second NXS victory at Phoenix Raceway in March – marking Toyota’s 500th NASCAR triumph since 2004.
Rookie Candidate Back on Track… Harrison Burton drove to a fourth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Burton has scored top-five finishes in half of his NXS starts this season and returns to a track that he drove to a top-10 finish last season in the NGROTS.
Double-Double for the Trucks… The Truck Series drivers gets their first shot at a doubleheader this weekend at Kansas Speedway with races on both Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Series points leader Austin Hill looks for his first win of the season, while fellow Tundra drivers Christian Eckes (second) and Stewart Friesen (fourth) are coming off of season-best finishes at Texas Motor Speedway.
Graduation Time… Rookie of the Year contender Derek Kraus is skipping his high school graduation to compete in the NGROTS race at Kansas on Friday evening. After his sixth top-15 finish of the season in Texas, the 18-year-old driver sits 11th in the overall point standings – currently just 11 points out of a Playoff spot.
Tundra Strong in Sunflower State… Toyota has won six of the past seven NGROTS events at Kansas Speedway with last week’s Truck Series winner Busch earning two of those victories. Former Tundra drivers Matt Crafton, William Byron and Noah Gragson have also driven to Kansas victory lane. This week, Pocono NGROTS victor Brandon Jones will drive the No. 51 Toyota Tundra in both doubleheader events.
NASCAR Regional Series – ARCA
The Streak Lives On… Ty Gibbs helped extend two streaks with his win at Iowa Speedway – one for himself and one for Toyota. The 17-year-old drove to his third national ARCA Menards Series triumph in the past four events by leading 140 of 150 laps in Iowa. The victory also extends the series-record winning streak for Toyota to 15 consecutive events. Due to age restrictions, Riley Herbst will replace Gibbs and drive the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry at Kansas Speedway in Friday evening’s ARCA event.
Kansas Kind to Self… ARCA Menards Series points leader Michael Self is excited for a second stop this year at Kansas Speedway. The track – which is scheduled to host the season finale – has been very strong for Self. He scored his first career ARCA victory in Kansas in 2017 and has finished top-three in every start at the 1.5-mile track.
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