Toyota Powers to Victories in POWRi
May 07, 2018
Toyota drivers swept the podium on both nights of POWRi competition over the weekend, while Daniel Suárez tied a career-best third-place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Daniel Suárez was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Dover International Speedway, tying a career-best finish of third. The result also marked his best finish in the Cup Series on an oval after he previously finished third on the Watkins Glen International road course in 2017.
“I feel like this race track is just very demanding physically and mentally and I like that,” Suárez said after the race. “I like to push myself to the limit and I feel like this is one of those places where you have to be in the top, at the limit most of the time, so it’s just fun for me.”
Camry drivers Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) and Denny Hamlin (seventh) also tallied top-10 results on the one-mile Delaware track while Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch was running in the top-five overall before a part failure relegated him to a 35th-place finish.
Christopher Bell battled to a fourth-place result, leading a trio of Toyota’s with top-10 finishes at Dover. After starting 34th, the Xfinity Series rookie made his way through the field, salvaging a top-five finish with power steering issues at the end of the race.
“You’ve got to have days like this to test your mental toughness,” Bell said on fighting for a top-five finish. “That’s something that I’ve been preached and preached about and it’s something that I try and make a priority in my racing career is being strong – being mentally strong – and today definitely was a test for that and all of our team.”
Bell remains in fourth in the NXS standings after 10 races this season.
Also finishing in the top-10 was Noah Gragson, whose seventh-place finish gave the Truck Series regular three top-10s in his first three Xfinity Series starts. Pole winner Brandon Jones took 10th – his sixth top-10 of the season.
In their first NASCAR race competing together, father-and-son Tundra drivers David Gilliland and Todd finished fourth and 10th, respectively, in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contest. David Gilliland was making his first start for DGR-Crosley, the team he co-owns, and recorded his first-career top-five result in the Truck Series.
“Racing with Todd (Gilliland) was a dream come true,” Gilliland said. “Really wanted to accomplish two objectives today and that was to race with Todd and have fun. I got to race him a little bit under green – that was fun. I wasn’t sure if we were going to after practice – his truck was pretty fast, but we had a good truck today, really good.”
Also finishing in the top-five was Harrison Burton (fifth) while Tundra driver Noah Gragson started from the pole, won the race’s first stage and led 60 laps (of 210) before an accident relegated him to a 20th-place finish.
K&N Pro Series West
Toyota driver Derek Kraus captured his second-career series pole award in the K&N Pro Series West Twin 100s at Tucson Speedway (Ariz.) on Saturday night. After starting first, Kraus lost the lead early on and eventually settled for a fourth-place finish in the first race.
In race two, it was Cole Rouse (fourth) and Trevor Huddleston (fifth) who tallied top-five finishes for Toyota to close out the night.
Cruz Pedregon advanced to the Funny Car semi-finals in his Snap-on Camry to lead Toyota at Sunday’s NHRA Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway. Pedregon, who won last weekend in Charlotte, opened eliminations with a victory over John Smith in the first round. He then defeated Ron Capps in the second round before eventually falling to Courtney Force in the semi-finals. Pedregon registered the low E.T. in each of the first two rounds.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t get down the track clean in the semi-finals after running so well in the first two rounds,” Pedregon said. “We just had a hole out when the clutch timer didn’t go off. All in all, though, it was a good weekend for our Snap-on Toyota team.”
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta won his opening round against teammate Richie Crampton before falling to point leader Steve Torrence in the second round.
Toyota-powered drivers swept the weekend’s POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header with Logan Seavey winning on Friday at Valley Speedway and 16-year-old Tanner Carrick earning his first national feature win on Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Seavey started from the pole in Friday night’s race after winning his heat race, immediately taking the lead and going wire-to-wire to become the fourth different Toyota driver to win in the season’s first seven POWRi events.
“We started on the pole and I started rolling the bottom early,” Seavey said. “Zach (Daum) was behind me most of the way and I knew that I had to keep hitting my marks. With two to go, he showed his nose and I was able to move down and hold him off.”
The following night, Tanner Carrick captured his first national midget feature win, swapping the lead with Seavey throughout the race before moving into the lead for a final time on lap 10.
Toyota drivers swept the victory podium on both nights and have now won 13 of 15 national events this season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway this weekend. The Truck Series takes to the track first on Friday, May 11 at 8:30 p.m. with race coverage on FS1. The Cup Series races on the 1.5-mile track on Saturday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m. and is televised on FS1.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East visits Virginia’s South Boston Speedway on May 11 and the event will be tape delayed for broadcast on NBCSN on May 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Formula DRIFT competes at Road Atlanta on Friday and Saturday, May 11-12 and the event will be tape delayed for broadcast on July 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
The weekend will also include a pair of POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League events at Jacksonville Speedway in Illinois on Friday, May 11 followed by a race at Illinois’ Macon Speedway on Saturday, May 11.