|Denny Hamlin has been Toyota's best restrictor-plate racer past few seasons.|
Truex ready to defend title in 2018… Toyota driver Truex was crowned the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) champion with his Furniture Row Racing team after overcoming an incredible amount of adversity. Truex had a season for the ages on his way to his first Cup Series title – winning a series-best eight races in a campaign that also included an impressive 19 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes in 36 races. Eight of his top-five finishes were either runner-up or third-place showings. After an off-season of championship celebrations, the Camry driver has his sights set on Daytona and is ready to defend his title in 2018.
Toyota Racing aims for three-peat in Manufacturer’s Championship… After capturing the NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer’s championship the past two seasons (2016 and 2017), Toyota is eyeing a third-consecutive title in 2018. In 2017, Toyota scored a series-best 16 race wins and capped off the season with the driver’s championship by Truex. In 2016, Toyota also captured 16 race wins to earn its first manufacturer’s title since joining the series in 2007. A Toyota driver has won two of the last three driver’s championships with Truex (2017) and Busch (2015) both capturing titles in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Rookies no more, Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez set for sophomore leap… Following their rookie seasons in the MENCS, Toyota drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez are equipped to make strong sophomore jumps in 2018 as teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Jones, who will move to the JGR No. 20 Camry in 2018, experienced a stout first season in Cup for Furniture Row Racing – winning the Rookie of the Year honors after scoring five top-fives, 14 top-10s and winning one pole (Bristol, fall). Suárez also made successful strides in his rookie season – collecting one top-five and 12 top-10s in the No. 19 Camry
Looking for second Daytona 500 victory in three years… Hamlin delivered Toyota its first Daytona 500 victory in 2016, edging out fellow Camry driver Truex by 0.011 seconds for the closest win in race history. Toyota will look to capture its second Daytona 500 victory in a three-year-span when the five Camry entries between Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing compete in the 60th running of the Great American Race on Feb. 18.
Bell takes on NASCAR Xfinity Series … Toyota’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) will have a new look in 2018 as 2017 NASCAR Truck Series champion Christopher Bell joins the ranks. Bell had an exciting championship campaign in a Tundra last season – winning five races, scoring 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s. In 2017, Bell raced in eight NXS events, capturing his first series win at Kansas Speedway in October. The Oklahoma native will make his first-career Daytona NXS start, while he has two NCWTS starts there, with a best finish of eighth (2017). He will drive JGR’s No. 20 Camry in 2018. Joining Bell at JGR will be Brandon Jones in the No. 19 Camry and Ryan Preece racing a partial schedule in the No. 18 Camry. Preece found tremendous success in four races in a Camry last season – scoring one win (Iowa) and finishing in the top-five in all four starts. Jones brings a wealth of Xfinity Series experience with 71 career starts. Jones captured the pole in last year’s February NXS Daytona race, before joining Toyota.
Gragson gears up for 2018 with Toyota Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports… Tundra driver Noah Gragson is coming off a successful 2017 rookie campaign in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). The Tundra driver won one race (Martinsville) and scored four top-fives, with 13 top-10s and three poles. He will look to lead the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team in 2018 as their lineup will have multiple new faces. Spencer Davis, Riley Herbst and B. Jones will see time in a Tundra at KBM in 2018. Davis is slated to compete in the No. 51 Tundra at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16. Toyota has enjoyed continued success in the NCWTS at Daytona as Tundra’s won eight-consecutive races at the superspeedway from 2007-2014 and also hold the most manufacturer wins at the 2.5-mile track.
Decker and Deegan making debuts in Florida… Toyota drivers Hailie Deegan and Natalie Decker are ready to kick off their 2018 season during Speedweeks. Deegan will race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season opener at New Smyrna Speedway Sunday, Feb. 11, while Decker will make her first-career start at Daytona International Speedway Saturday, Feb. 10 in the ARCA Series with Venturini Motorsports, which she will run all season. Deegan will compete full-time in 2018 with Bill McAnally Racing in the K&N Pro Series West, in addition to select NKNPSE events.
Toyota Camry to lead Daytona 500 field to green… The 2018 Toyota Camry XSE is the official pace car vehicle of the 2018 and 60th running of the Daytona 500. This will be the third time the Camry has led the field for the Daytona 500, after previously pacing the field in 2015 and 2016.
Toyota Injector at Daytona… In 2016, Toyota opened the Toyota Injector, a four-level concourse entryway into Daytona International Speedway filled with Toyota-themed content. The Injector was built as part of Daytona Rising, a $400 million re-imagining of Daytona as a stadium. Fans can enjoy interactive displays, check out the latest Toyota vehicles, grab a bite to eat at the Toyota Roadhouse and see a replica nose of the Endeavour Space Shuttle. The Toyota Injector also features historic Toyota race cars throughout, including Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 championship winning Camry and Hamlin’s 2016 Daytona 500 winning Camry as well as the latest Toyota vehicles. Fans can also experience the Toyota Thrill Ride and Toyota Owner’s Hub, which is exclusive for Toyota and Lexus owners.
Daytona 500 Military Viewing Party… Toyota has partnered with FOX to sponsor a Daytona 500 watch party at Fort Campbell in Kentucky – which is approximately 230 miles from Georgetown, KY – where the Toyota Camry is built. The watch party will include approximately 400 servicemen and servicewomen enjoying food, beverages, giveaways and raffles.
Staying Connected… You can follow Toyota Racing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and online at www.toyotaracing.com. For media images, please visit www.toyotaracingmedia.com.
Toyota at Daytona: Notes & Numbers…
Camry drivers have won two MENCS races at Daytona, four NXS events and eight NCWTS contests … Martin Truex Jr. led all Camry finishers in the 2017 Daytona 500 – finishing 13th … 2017 Rookie of the Year Erik Jones had the best finish among the Camry group in the July 2017 MENCS race – placing ninth … Four Camry drivers placed in the top-13 in the spring Daytona NXS event in 2017, while two Camrys finished inside the top-four in the summer NXS contest … Six Tundra’s scored inside the top-12 in the NCWTS race in 2017.
Toyota Wins at Daytona:
Cup Series (2 & 4 Exhibition):
2016 Daytona 500 – Denny Hamlin
2016 Clash* – Denny Hamlin
2015 Clash* – Matt Kenseth
2014 Clash* – Denny Hamlin
2012 Clash* – Kyle Busch
2008, July – Kyle Busch
Xfinity Series (4):
2013, July – Matt Kenseth
2011, July – Joey Logano
2008, July – Denny Hamlin
2008, Feb – Tony Stewart
Truck Series (8):
2014 – Kyle Busch
2013 – Johnny Sauter
2012 – John King
2011 – Michael Waltrip
2010 – Timothy Peters
2009 – Todd Bodine
2008 – Todd Bodine
2007 – Jack Sprague
Toyota 2017 Statistics:
|Series||Races||Starts (Drivers)||Wins||Tops-5s||Tops-10s||Poles||Times Led||Laps Led|