NASCAR: Talladega marks 1000th race for Toyota
Kyle Busch celebrates his first NASCAR Sprint Cup and the first for Toyota after the 2015 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
The Oct. 23 Hellmann’s 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Speedway marked a milestone for Toyota. Sunday’s race was the 1000th NASCAR national-level race for the manufacturer.
“Upon switching over to Toyota (from Ford), it’s been an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot,” Carl Edwards said.
Edwards is in his second year as the driver of a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, making the move from Ford stalwart Roush Fenway Racing.
Ford driver Joey Logano marked the date with a trip to victory lane at Talladega on Sunday, but Toyota celebrated four its drivers advancing to the third round, the round of eight, of this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup after the Talladega elimination race. Half the remaining Chase drivers are from the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota stable — Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Edwards and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.
“We’ve talked about it a lot, but the way they do things through TRD (Toyota Racing Development) with actually building our engines, owning the equipment that we use, the simulator — all this stuff that truly is a part of our team — it’s a true team,” Edwards said. “It’s not a sponsor or a logo on the car, and then as far as the people at Toyota, they’re just a ton of fun. We really have a good time, and I feel like I’m part of the family, so it’s been a cool experience.”
While Toyota didn’t finish up front at Talladega, it started up front, as Martin Truex Jr. claimed the pole in a Saturday evening qualifying session. Truex, a championship favorite, though, retired from the race early because of a blown engine on lap 42.
Busch’s championship of a year ago was historic, as it not only was Busch’s first championship at the Cup level, it also was the first driver championship in the Sprint Cup Series for Toyota. Busch also was the first driver to win a Sprint Cup race in a Toyota, doing so at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2008.
Toyota made its NASCAR national debut in the Truck Series, doing so in 2004. It took another three years for the manufacturer to arrive on the scene in the other two series, joining the Sprint Cup and Xfinity series ranks in 2007. Four Toyotas, three from the Michael Waltrip Racing stable, were in the first Sprint Cup race for the manufacturer — the 2007 Daytona 500.
While the first Sprint Cup win came in year two in that series, the manufacturer got to victory lane in its inaugural seasons at both the Camping World Truck and Xfinity series levels, with Travis Kvapil winning the first Truck Series race for Toyota at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in 2004 and Jason Leffler getting to Xfinity Series victory lane at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in 2007.
Kvapil came close to giving Toyota its first NASCAR national-level win in its first race, finishing second to winner and then-Ford driver Carl Edwards in the manufacturer’s NASCAR national debut in the 2004 Truck Series season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International speedway. By the time Toyota entered the two car series — Cup and Xfinity — the manufacturer already had a driver championship in the bag, with Todd Bodine claimed the Truck Series title in 2006.
Since joining to top ranks of NASCAR, Toyota has been the manufacturer of choice for four owner championships in the Xfinity Series, all by Joe Gibbs Racing, and six owner titles in the Truck Series. Six Truck Series driver championships have been won from behind the wheel of Toyota Tundras, but the manufacturer still is in search of a first driver championship in the Xfinity Series.
Below, is a list of stats and Toyota milestones compiled and provided by NASCAR (stats pre-Talladega):
1 – Number of Toyota driver championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Kyle Busch, 2015) and the NASCAR XFINITY Series (Kyle Busch, 2009).
4 – Number of car owner titles Toyota has won in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (Joe Gibbs: 2008, ’09,’10 and ’12).
6 – Number of driver titles Toyota has won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Todd Bodine, 2006 and 2010; Johnny Benson, 2008; Matt Crafton, 2013-2014; and Erik Jones 2015).
6 – Number of car owner titles Toyota has won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Stephen Germain, 2006; Bill Davis, 2008 and Kyle Busch 2010, ’13, ’14, ’15).
11 – Number of Manufacturer titles Toyota has won in NASCAR (NXS – three and NCWTS – eight).
11 – Number of different Toyota drivers to win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; led by Kyle Busch with 34 wins.
13 – Number of different Toyota drivers to win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series; led by Kyle Busch with 74 wins.
15 – Number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins by Toyota in 2016, the most in a season by the manufacturer.
16 – Number of Toyota Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (2007 – 2016); led by Denny Hamlin with seven.
26 – Number of different Toyota drivers to win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; led by Kyle Busch with 40 wins.
322 – Number of runner-up finishes Toyota drivers have posted in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 76, NXS – 112 and NCWTS – 134).
332 – Number of poles Toyota drivers have posted in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 88, NXS -128 and NCWTS – 116).
376 – Number of wins Toyota drivers have posted in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 94, NXS – 126 and NCWTS – 156).
1,000 – Number of NASCAR national series races Toyota has participated in (NSCS – 356, NXS – 336 and NCWTS – 308).
1,573 – Number of top-five finishes posted by Toyota drivers in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 406, NXS – 495 and NCWTS – 672).
2,956 – Number of top-10 finishes posted by Toyota drivers in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 775, NXS – 903 and NCWTS – 1,278).
77,491 – Number of laps led by Toyota drivers in all three NASCAR national series (NSCS – 29,273, NXS – 25,595 and NCWTS – 22,623).
First Toyota Wins By Series
– NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Kyle Busch (Atlanta Motor Speedway, 3/9/2008)
– NASCAR XFINITY Series: Jason Leffler (Lucas Oil Raceway, 7/28/2007)
– NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Travis Kvapil (Michigan International Speedway, 7/31/2004)
First Tracks Toyota Made Starts At By Series
– NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Daytona International Speedway, 2/18/2007
– NASCAR XFINITY Series: Daytona International Speedway, 2/17/2007
– NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Daytona International Speedway, 2/13/2004
Here’s a video
highlighting some Toyota NASCAR milestones.