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Special Article

Toyota Racing Starts Year Off with a Bang

4_23_2019 Season ReviewToyota Racing Starts Year Off with a Bang
Before the motorsports season kicked into full throttle, Toyota claimed victory in an iconic race: the Chili Bowl Nationals. The win at the “Super Bowl of midget racing” was achieved for a third straight year by Christopher Bell after another memorable battle with Kyle Larson in the closing laps

From there, Toyota continued to fire on all cylinders as Doug Kalitta captured his second consecutive victory at the season-opening NHRA event: the Winternationals, and he continues to reign at the top of the Top Fuel point standings. His teammates, Richie Crampton and defending Funny Car champion J.R. Todd, have also earned wins in the first five races of the season. Crampton secured the 50th annual Gatornationals trophy, the same event where many NHRA legends conducted drag races in Toyota Camrys branded like their iconic rides from seasons prior. 

Not to be outdone, Toyota’s NASCAR lineup kicked off the year in spectacular fashion. In an emotional win, Denny Hamlin crossed the finish line first to score his second Harley J. Earl Trophy in the Daytona 500. Kyle Busch and Erik Jones followed Hamlin to the finish line to give Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota a top-three sweep to start the year. Austin Hill began the Daytona weekend claiming his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) win in his inaugural race for Hattori Racing Enterprises.

Success in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) continues as Toyota has finished first at six of the nine races, including the last three events. Hamlin added another win in Texas, while Martin Truex Jr. scored his first victory for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond. However, the early season story has been Kyle Busch, who earned his 200th career NASCAR national series win at Auto Club Raceway in March. Just two months into the NASCAR season, Busch has tallied three MENCS wins, three NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) trophies and four NGOTS victories. In 17 starts across NASCAR, Busch has earned 14 top-five finishes and scored a top-10 result in every start.

In NXS action, Bell put the Toyota Supra in the winners circle in just its second start, sweeping all three stages in Atlanta. He added a second win in Bristol, while also winning the Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus in the same event. Bell has also continued his strong efforts in POWRi as he is currently scored as the points leader with his teammate Logan Seavey in close pursuit. Through 15 midget races, Toyota has 10 wins. 

In NGOTS competition, Hill and Busch have allowed Toyota to achieve victory at the first five events on tour, giving Toyota a substantial lead in the Owner and Manufacturer title races.

Toyota looks for the run of success to continue into the second quarter of the racing season as NASCAR takes on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway and NHRA revs up four-wide in Charlotte this weekend. 

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