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Race Recap

Nov 3 - 2020
Read Time 6 Min

Hamlin Set for Championship 4, Brown and Tuerck Return to Victory Lane

Denny Hamlin qualified to the Championship 4 with his 11th-place finish at Martinsville.Hamlin Set for Championship 4, Brown and Tuerck Return to Victory Lane

Denny Hamlin has qualified for the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season, while Antron Brown and Ryan Tuerck drove to their first victories of the season.

NASCAR
Denny Hamlin earned a Championship 4 berth for the second consecutive season after two solid stages and an 11th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Kyle Busch led Toyota with a ninth-place finish in a race won by Chase Elliott.

Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. battle for position.

“I think we were in most of the time,” said Hamlin. “Just lost the handling there as soon as it went night. We were not very good. A lot of that too, I got up into sixth or seventh and some guys teammates were kind of rubbing up against you and it’s like, ‘yeah, I don’t want to cut a tire,’ so I backed out of that. Then we just fell to a spot that was a little more open. Proud of this whole FedEx Shipathon Toyota team.”

Denny Hamlin

Martin Truex Jr. was in position to win his way to the Championship 4 after leading over 100 laps. However, a late-race green flag pit stop ended his chances at victory.

On Saturday, Harrison Burton was impressive yet again as the 20-year-old driver led the most laps (81) and drove to his second consecutive win and fourth of his career. With the victory, Burton has clinched the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year honors.

Harrison Burton celebrates his fourth victory of the season.

“It was a really fun race,” said Burton. “Martinsville is one of those places that’s really cool to win at. For me in particular because my family is from here. There’s a guy in a hot dog for Halloween. The fans here are awesome. It’s amazing to win here at what is one of my home tracks I would say and do what my dad did. I think it was his first Xfinity win was here.”

Harrison Burton
His teammate, Brandon Jones, had a solid top-10 run all day, but that left him just six points short of a Championship 4 berth. 
 
On Friday evening at Martinsville Speedway, four Toyota drivers finished in the top-10, led by Christian Eckes in fourth in a race won by Grant Enfinger. 
 
Regular season champion Austin Hill started the race strong before his Ilmor engine failed. Hill’s 35th-place finish wasn’t enough to earn him a final four spot. 
 
Christian Eckes led Toyota with a fourth-place finish at Martinsville on Friday.

“We aren’t 100% sure what happened, but it was definitely blowing up on us,” said Hill. “The first stage, I thought we had a tire going down maybe. We lost some track position and then got back to the lucky dog and then as soon as I got to the lucky dog, we started blowing up. It started cutting in and out, so I guess it’s those really great built Ilmor engines. They like to breathe fire. It’s just frustrating to potentially end your season on an engine failure like that. Everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), all of our partners, everyone that makes this deal happen deserves a lot better. We should definitely be in this final four. It’s frustrating. I can’t even put it in to words what I’m feeling right now.”

Austin Hill
NHRA
Antron Brown defeated Steve Torrence on a holeshot to win the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ NHRA Finals at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. The long-time Toyota driver earned his first win of the shortened 2020 campaign and the 51st Top Fuel victory of his career – just one shy of Joe Amato for third all-time. Brown’s win was the fifth for a Toyota NHRA driver in 11 races this season and the third in the last four Top Fuel races.
Antron Brown celebrates his first win of the season in Las Vegas.

“This was medicine today,” said Brown. “We’ve been so close at a lot of races, but just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Sometimes, you’ve got to have a little luck on your side. We just stayed poised. It really started about three races ago and it paid dividends this weekend. We’re just going to keep our heads down, work harder and smarter this off-season. We’re going to be that much farther ahead next year. We’re going to pick up where we left off this year. Winning here is a great motivator for the guys. It shows all the guys that we have all the parts and pieces here at Don Schumacher Racing. We have all the TRD Toyota backing and all the engineering. We’ve been down for so long and kicked all over the place that this is a really good positive motivation for the team to see that the work they’ve been doing will pay off and has paid off. Now we need to keep on going and we’re going to be looking really good this off-season.”

Antron Brown
In Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria advanced to her third semifinal in the last four races. Matt Hagan was the race winner.
 
FORMULA DRIFT
Ryan Tuerck had an impressive drive in Toyota’s home state to score his first victory of the season at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening.
 
Ryan Tuerck drifted his way to his first win of the year in Texas.

"It's an amazing feeling to take the win for Toyota and Gumout here in their home state," said Tuerck. "I have to give it to the team. They made some amazing setup decisions which kept my head on straight and pushing forward on the track."

Ryan Tuerck

In the second race of the double header, Tuerck and his teammate, Fredric Aasbo, led Toyota with Final 8 appearances. The race was won by Chris Forsberg.

Tuerck is second in the standings, just eight points behind the leader going into the final doubleheader of the season at the House of Drift – Irwindale Speedway – in three weeks.

What’s Next

It’s Championship weekend for all three NASCAR series and ARCA Menards Series West at Phoenix Raceway. The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks Series kicks off the action on Friday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1. On Saturday, November 7, it is the championship race for the ARCA Menards Series West and NASCAR Xfinity Series. The ARCA race is at 2:00 p.m. ET on TrackPass, and the Xfinity race follows at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers go for the title at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC.