Jones’ Phoenix victory is the 500th for Toyota
PLANO, Texas (March 9, 2020) – Brandon Jones scored his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) victory on Saturday at Phoenix Raceway to claim the 500th NASCAR national series win for Toyota.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) had a strong performance on Saturday afternoon in the NXS race. Jones drove by teammate Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go to earn the win, while Harrison Burton continued his strong start to the year with another runner-up finish. Busch finished third to allow JGR to sweep the podium for the first time this season.
“I cannot believe he left the door open. We were so strong on that top lane,” said Jones. “Toyota is the manufacturer to be with – I love these guys so much. It’s like a family working with them. Coach Gibbs is great. We had Turtle Wax and Menards — is so big for us. They sponsor us so much and we are going to get big results because of it.”
Jones’ second win was the 500th for Toyota in NASCAR’s top three national series. JGR has scored 277 of those victories, with Busch at the helm for 188 of them. Toyota currently has 144 NASCAR Cup Series wins, 164 NXS victories and 192 Truck Series triumphs by 48 different drivers.
Burton continues to lead the NXS point standings on the strength of four top-five finishes.
On Sunday, Busch led Toyota with a third-place finish. Joey Logano was the race winner at Phoenix Raceway.
“Just want to thank everybody on this Sport Clips Camry,” said Busch. “The guys did a great job. We weren’t very good when we unloaded, we made a lot of ground, but still not enough ground as I would have wanted to race with some of the top guys. I felt like we were a fifth- or sixth-place car probably and we were able to come out with a third. Good for us with that effort. We need some points right now. We have to climb the ladder and get back where we need to be.”
Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. all spent time running inside the top 10 throughout the event, but were involved in various incidents on track.
In just his 21st career start, 17-year-old Chandler Smith drove to his eighth career ARCA Menards Series victory on Friday evening. Fellow Toyota driver Ty Gibbs led the majority of the race, but Smith took the lead on a late race restart and led the last 11 laps to give Venturini Motorsports its second win of the season.
Smith takes the points lead in the inaugural ARCA Sioux Chief Showdown championship, while teammate Michael Self continues to lead the ARCA Menards Series championship on the strength of a runner-up finish.
Tyler Thomas placed second, while series points leader Chris Windom finished third as Toyota-powered drivers captured two of the three podium finishes at the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Shamrock Classic at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Illinois, on Saturday.
Windom has now captured a first-, second- and third-place finish in the season’s first three events with Tucker-Boat Motorsports.
NASCAR racing action returns to the east coast with a stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series have a double-header on Saturday. The Truck Series kicks off racing action on Saturday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on FS1 with the Xfinity Series to follow at 4:00 p.m EDT. The Cup Series race will be broadcast on FOX on Sunday, March 15 beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns with one of its iconic events – the Gatornationals – in Gainesville, Florida. Coverage of the finals is scheduled at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 15 on FS1.
The ARCA Menards Series East has its second race of the season at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday evening. Tape-delayed coverage of the event will run on NBCSN on Monday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.