Success has been the hallmark of Toyota’s banner 2019 season

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 16: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, drives during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

With 43 victories in NASCAR’s three major series—including a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series-best 18—Toyota Motorsports has certainly had a season for the ages. Toyota drivers qualified for all three championship races this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway including three – Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin – in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale.

“Obviously this has been a fantastic season for us across all three series,” said Ed Laukes, Group Vice President of Marketing for Toyota Motor North America. “We’re really excited about, first of all, Christopher (Bell) running today, but this whole thing started in Daytona, as you all know.

“In the spirit of what happened at the Joe Gibbs organization, having J.D. [Gibbs] pass and then having the three Gibbs drivers win in Daytona really started off what we would say, was a magical season for us. And hopefully we’ll be able to finish it off next year.”

With Ford and Chevrolet motorsports executives sitting alongside him for their annual meeting with motorsports media on the eve of the Homestead-Miami season finale, Laukes praised his teams and talked about the group’s motivation going forward. There are only seven Toyota cars in Sunday’s race field – compared to 16 for Ford and 17 for Chevrolet. But the numbers are clearly in Toyota’s favor from the sheer number of race victories in 2019 to having three members of the Championship 4.

After snapping a 12-year Chevrolet win streak in 2016, Toyota wrapped up its third manufacturer title in the last four years with Hamlin’s victory at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway last week.

“In reflection, I started in this job in 2007 and we were looking through some of the statistics and in 2007, Chevy won 26 races and Rick Hendrick’s team won 18, so for us to even get to that point from 2007 to 2019, where we not only can match [the Cup win total] but potentially pass the pinnacle of Hall of Fame Rick Hendrick and the legacy that he has within NASCAR is really special.

“The manufacturer’s championship is obviously a piece of personal pride for us that we push all the time, so whether it’s in any one of the three series, it’s a big deal for us, so we’re pretty excited.

Greg Engle