Bell Makes History at Dover
October 08, 2018
Three Toyota drivers were victorious over the weekend as Camry driver Christopher Bell made NASCAR history in the Xfinity Series.
Bell captured his sixth Camry victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) this season to become the first driver in series history to collect six victories in a rookie campaign. After starting second, Bell went on to lead 110 laps (of 200) en route to winning at Dover International Speedway and remains at the top of the series standings as the NXS closed out the first round of the playoffs.
“To be able to have the season we’ve had, it’s been a career year for me," Bell said. “It’s all credit to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and my crew chief Jason Ratcliff. Everyone that works at the shop to put these Camrys together. We have really fast cars every time we go to the track.”
Fellow Toyota teammates Ryan Preece (fourth) and Brandon Jones (sixth) also finished in the top 10. Despite his top-10 finish, Jones was eliminated from the playoffs as the series heads to the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, October 20.
In Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at the Monster Mile, Denny Hamlin posted a season-best second-place finish in his Camry and was the top-finishing Toyota driver in the event which was won by Chase Elliott.
“I am proud of the whole FedEx team,” Hamlin said. “Definitely a good start in the right direction. We chipped away at it all day as we moved up through the field. This is where we deserved to be. I am proud of this finish and we’ll move on to the next race.”
Erik Jones (fourth), Kyle Busch (eighth) and Daniel Suárez (10th) also posted top-10 finishes. Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who finished 15th, remain in contention for the championship title as they are second and third in the standings, respectively.
In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, it was an afternoon of celebration for Toyota drivers as Reuben Garcia Jr. captured his second career-series win at Dover, while rookie Tyler Ankrum closed out the season with the series championship.
“Every single season you come with high expectations for yourself,” Ankrum said. “Sometimes they don’t come out the way you want, but everything that we dreamt of this year has exceeded more than our expectations. I’m ecstatic.”
Ankrum posted four wins and finished inside the top 10 in all but two races this season.
In victory lane, Garcia became the second Mexican-born driver to collect multiple wins in the NKNPSE, joining MENCS driver Suárez. Garcia led a race-high 75 laps (of 125), defending the top position in the closing minutes to take the checkered flag.
Toyota driver Christian Eckes led the final 42 laps (of 200) to win the ARCA Racing Series event at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday evening. Eckes started from the pole and led a combined 171 laps en route to his third win of the season.
"I really should give all the credit to my crew chief Kevin Reed and the guys on the team," Eckes said. "They gave me the best car I've ever had. I was just the lucky one who got to drive it."
Toyota teammates Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith and Riley Herbst continue to remain 1-2-3 in the ARCA standings with one race remaining in the 2018 season.
J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to the Funny Car finals before falling to Robert Hight at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. Todd ran seven-consecutive three-second passes to close out the weekend and now has a 9-2 win-loss record during the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. He remains second in the title chase.
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown advanced to the second round as Steve Torrence eventually won the event.
NASCAR hits the 2.66-mile behemoth of Talladega Superspeedway this weekend as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action to close the first round of their playoffs on Saturday, October 13 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will follow at the Alabama track on Sunday, October 14 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
Following Hailie Deegan’s historic victory in the last NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event, the series will compete at All American Speedway on Saturday, October 13 with the race set to broadcast on October 18 at 6 p.m. ET.
NHRA continues the Countdown to the Championship at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, North Carolina with the finals on Sunday, October 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, Formula Drift closes the 2018 season at Irwindale Speedway in Round 8: Title Fight on Saturday, October 13. The race will be tape delayed on CBS Sports Network and is set to air November 25 at 7 p.m. ET.
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship also concludes the 2018 season at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 13 at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS1.