Good stretch of races coming for Toyota teams

LOUDON, NH - JULY 14: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 WIX Filters Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. – Through 18 races this season, only one driver Toyota driver has been to Victory Lane. Martin Truex Jr. has three wins, the most recent coming last Saturday at Kentucky.

Joe Gibbs Racing, which fields Camrys for veterans Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth and Sunoco rookie Daniel Suarez, has yet to score a victory. The same goes for Sunoco rookie Erik Jones, Truex’s teammate at Furniture Row Racing.

Though there are only eight races left before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, it’s too early to dismiss the chances of the winless Toyota drivers. Why? Because of their track record over the past two years.

Kenseth enters Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire motor Speedway as the defending winner. Busch won the same race in 2015. Busch is also the two-time defending champion of next week’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400.

Hamlin won last year at Watkins Glen. Truex is the defending winner at Darlington, with the JGR’s Carl Edwards, now departed from the team, taking the checkered flag the year before. Hamlin triumphed in the cutoff race for the playoffs last year, and Kenseth did the same in 2015.

The bottom line? In four of the remaining eight races before the playoffs, Toyotas have a two-year winning streak.

Clearly, the future is now for those teams. The next eight races will tell us how bright that future will be.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.