Toyota Racing – Weekly Preview – 07.19.23

Toyota is milestone focused this weekend with the opportunity to hit landmark victories in both NASCAR and NHRA competition. 


NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS | NCTS

600 in our sights… After scoring two victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the weekend, Toyota sits at 599 NASCAR national series victories heading into Pocono Raceway. In its NASCAR tenure, Toyota has won 176 NASCAR Cup Series races, 196 NASCAR Xfinity Series events and 227 NASCAR Truck Series races. 


Truex looks to extend points lead… Martin Truex Jr. is coming off a perfect weekend in New Hampshire as Truex won both stages and the race to earn seven Playoff points. With the result, Truex retook the NCS points lead by 17 with six races remaining in the regular season. Truex looks to expand the lead this weekend. The New Jersey-native has earned two victories at Pocono Raceway – picking up wins in 2015 and 2018.


Pocono strong for Hamlin… Denny Hamlin heads to Pocono Raceway off a strong top-10 run in New Hampshire. Pocono has been one of Hamlin’s best tracks over the years. Hamlin has six victories – two wins in 2016 and a single victory in 2009, 2010, 2019 and 2020. 


Nemechek plans to continue winning streak… John Hunter Nemechek expanded his NXS points lead with his second consecutive victory on Saturday in New Hampshire. It is Nemechek’s first time winning back-to-back races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and his fourth win of the season. Nemechek finished third in the Truck Series race at Pocono last season and owns a Xfinity Series top-10 finish at the track in 2018.


Smith continues strong performance… Sammy Smith has a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes for the first time in his rookie season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The Toyota development driver earned his first stage win of the season and finish fifth in New Hampshire on Saturday. Smith made his second-ever Xfinity start at Pocono last season and started fifth before being taken out in a late-race incident.


SHR drivers running Saturday double… Sam Hunt Racing’s driver duo for Pocono will be running double-duty on Saturday. Kaz Grala is coming off his third straight top-15 finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series after a strong run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He will drive his normal No. 26 Toyota GR Supra, but will first compete in the NASCAR Truck Series for TRICON Garage in the No. 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. In Grala’s last Truck Series start, he earned a top-10 finish at Circuit of the Americas in March. NASCAR Truck Series points leader Corey Heim will look to follow his Mid-Ohio victory with another strong performance at Pocono as he desires to clinch the regular season Truck Series championship. After he completes the Truck Series race in his No. 11 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Heim will make his third career Xfinity Series start in the No. 24 Toyota GR Supra. Heim finished in the top-10 in his last start in the GR Supra at Darlington Raceway in May.


Friesen, Gray look for Playoff berths… Stewart Friesen and Tanner Gray continue to battle for the last Playoff berths in the NASCAR Truck Series. With two races remaining in the regular season, Friesen is just one point behind the final playoff spot, while Gray is 24 points out. Friesen’s best finish at Pocono is fourth in 2018, while Gray scored a top-10 finish at the track in 2022.


NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car

Holding at 199… Despite a strong performance by Team Toyota with six drivers in the semi-finals at Denver, Toyota continues to hold at 199 race wins heading into Seattle. Antron Brown is the most recent Toyota winner at Pacific Raceways, claiming victory there in Top Fuel in 2018.


Todd continues to have performance surge… J.R. Todd earned his third semi-final finish in the last four races, following a strong run at Norwalk with two round wins in Denver. Todd is looking for his first Seattle victory in Funny Car but has won at the track in Top Fuel in 2015.


Ashley holds championship points lead… Justin Ashley continues to hold on to the Top Fuel championship points lead on the strength of a series-leading four event wins in the first 10 races this season. Ashley is looking for his first Seattle victory. He advanced to the semi-finals last season before being defeated by eventual event winner Tony Schumacher.


NASCAR Regional Series – ARCA

Love continues to lead… Jesse Love continued to expand his lead with another top-five finish at Iowa Speedway. Love has seven top-five finishes in nine starts this season, and his championship lead is nearly 50 points heading into Pocono. Love made his track debut at Pocono last season. The California-native started third, led eight laps and finished 13th.