PLANO, Texas – Up-and-coming Toyota drivers stole the show in NASCAR, ARCA and midget car racing over the weekend, collecting six wins and a record-matching runner-up result.
Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway saw a thrilling finish where Kurt and Kyle Busch went toe-to-toe in overtime, as the older brother was the victor over Camry driver, Kyle Busch, who finished second.
“Kurt (Busch) got on my door off of (Turn) 2 there and got a run down the backstretch and I didn’t have enough of a run back on him into 3 to clear him soon enough,” said Busch of the final lap. “I know I cleared him, but I knew I wasn’t going to make the exit if I tried to jump up in front of him and mess up his air, so I just tried to get as close as I could to him and side draft him. He just had too much momentum going by me on the outside. I was just way too tight.”
The younger Busch brother led a race-high 72 laps (of 269) and also won the second stage of the race. The Camry driver has led a series-high 841 laps this season and this was his 10th finish of third or better in 19 races this season.
Erik Jones (third) tied his best finish of the season and scored his fifth top-five of the year. Denny Hamlin also finished fifth at Kentucky.
In Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event, Supra driver, Christopher Bell, also earned a runner-up result. He started from the outside pole, led 72 laps (of 200) and won both of the event’s stages before finishing second to Kentucky race winner Cole Custer.
“My Supra was driving really good,” said Bell. “Probably just got a little too comfortable and needed to free it up a little bit. Bummer night, but our Ruud Supra was really fast. We were able to win the two stages, so we got a couple more Playoff points.”
It was Toyota driver, Tyler Ankrum, who stole the show at Kentucky’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Thursday night. The 18-year-old Tundra driver won his first career-series race and locked up a spot in the Playoffs.
“I cannot believe I just did this,” said Ankrum. “This is a dream come true. Honestly, one of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself and tonight, I felt all of that wash away.”
Ankrum started from the ninth position and led a race-high 40 laps (of 150) before claiming the Kentucky win, which was also his DGR-Crosley team’s first series win. Though a rookie in the series, Ankrum is no stranger to success. He won the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title on the strength of four wins with the same DGR-Crosley team.
Toyota Racing Development driver, Chandler Smith, recovered from a mid-race spin to win the ARCA Menards Series race at Elko Speedway on Saturday night. He started seventh and led 95 laps (of 250) at the 0.375-mile Minnesota track to earn his third victory of the season.
Ty Gibbs (second) and Michael Self (fourth) also earned top-five results at Elko. Hailie Deegan (eighth) earned her second ARCA top-10.
Toyota drivers earned four national midget racing event wins held between the USAC and POWRi series last week.
Logan Seavey won at Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Raceway last Tuesday night. It was his second USAC win of the season and tenth overall national midget feature win of the year.
On Friday night, Jason McDougal scored his first national midget feature victory in the USAC’s race at Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway.
Tanner Carrick was victorious at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex on Sunday night.
Jesse Colwell also earned his first-career national midget feature win over the weekend when he was triumphant at Kansas’ Humboldt Speedway on Sunday night. Colwell won last year’s KKM Giveback Classic to earn his current ride with Keith Kunz Motorsports where he currently leads the POWRi national midget standings.
Toyota driver, Holley Hollan, made history by matching the best-ever finish by a female driver in a national midget feature event with a second-place result in the POWRi event at Missouri’s Valley Speedway on Saturday night. She’s one of only three females to finish runner-up, following in the footsteps of Holly Shelton who accomplished the same result at the same track one year ago, as well as Sarah McCune who set the mark at Indiana’s Winchester Speedway in 1999.
The NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway his coming week. The Xfinity Series races on Saturday, July 20 at 4 p.m. EDT while the Cup Series competes on Sunday, July 21 at 3 p.m. EDT on NBCSN. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will also compete in New Hampshire on Saturday.
The ARCA Menards Series travels to Iowa Speedway on July 19 at 9 p.m. EDT on MAVTV.
NHRA begins a three-week western swing with the first stop at Colorado’s Bandimere Speedway on Sunday, July 21 at 3 p.m. EDT on FOX.
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.