Toyota Racing - Weekly Preview - 09.20.23
NASCAR heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time this season, starting the Round of 12 of the Cup Series Playoffs. NHRA continues its Countdown to the Championship this weekend at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS
Round of 12 begins with strong Toyota presence … By the end of last weekend’s dramatic race at Bristol Motor Speedway, all five Toyota NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers advanced to the Round of 12, highlighted by Denny Hamlin’s victory at the famed half-mile track. The Virginia native, inching closer to his 50th career Toyota Cup Series win, is joined in the next round by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell, along with 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace. Toyota has more cars than any other manufacturer remaining in the playoffs as the championship push continues.
Reddick goes for three straight wins in the Lone Star State … Tyler Reddick is looking to keep his hot streak in the state of Texas going. The driver of the 23XI Racing No. 45 Camry TRD was the victor at Texas Motor Speedway in 2022 and captured his first win of 2023 at Circuit of the Americas just outside of Austin, Texas. Getting his third straight win in the state would secure Reddick a spot in the Round of 8.
Bell aims for fourth consecutive pole position … Christopher Bell has been unmatched in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying over the past month, earning three straight pole positions (Darlington, Kansas and Bristol). The driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry TRD for Joe Gibbs Racing, entering the Round of 12 seventh in points, has the most pole positions this season with five.
Toyota Xfinity playoff drivers atop the cutline going into Texas … John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith both had successful outings at Bristol last weekend and are above the playoff cutline as the Xfinity Series playoffs continue in Texas. Nemechek is currently second in the playoff standings with a 65-point cushion, while Smith is five above the cutline with two races before the next elimination.
Nemechek returns to a favorable track … John Hunter Nemechek heads back to Texas Motor Speedway where he’s found success so far in his young career. The 26-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver, pushing for the Xfinity Series title, won the NXS race at Texas in 2021, along with the Truck Series race the night before. A win for Nemechek would be his seventh of the 2023 Xfinity Series season and secure him a spot in the Round of 8.
NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car
Kalitta earns milestone 50th career win … The extended event at Maple Grove Raceway last weekend finished with Doug Kalitta earning his 50th career victory, defeating Steve Torrence in an all-Toyota Top Fuel final. The win catapulted Kalitta up the Top Fuel standings as the Michigan-native aims for the season championship with five races to go in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Toyota’s Top Fuel win-streak continues… Kalitta’s Top Fuel victory secured the sixth consecutive in the category for Toyota drivers, which dates back to the event at Pacific Raceways in Seattle in July. Kalitta, along with Torrence, Antron Brown and Justin Ashley have all been victors over the stretch. Teams and drivers go for an astounding seventh consecutive Toyota win this weekend in Charlotte.
Brown and Capps aim for repeats in Charlotte … Returning to zMAX Dragway, Brown (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) will go for back-to-back wins in the Carolina Nationals to continue their championship pushes. Both have had success at the North Carolina drag strip over the course of their careers, whether it be the Carolina Nationals or Four-Wide Nationals, with Capps also claiming victories in Charlotte in 2017 and 2018, and Brown winning in 2016.
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