Toyota Racing – Weekly Preview – 04.03.24

This Week in Motorsports: April 1 – 7, 2024

  • NCS/NXS/NCTS: Martinsville Speedway – April 5-7
  • NHRA: Firebird Motorsports Park – April 5-7

PLANO, Texas (April 3, 2024) – NASCAR heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the first of its two visits this season as all three national series are in action. NHRA goes to Firebird Motorsports Park near Phoenix for the Arizona Nationals, while also completing the Winternationals from Pomona two weeks ago.

NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS | NCTS

Truex leads strong Camry stable … Martin Truex Jr. comes to Martinsville Speedway still atop the NASCAR Cup Series points standings after a strong run at Richmond last weekend. The Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver finished fourth Sunday night and extended his points lead to 14 over Kyle Larson. Truex’s Toyota teammates Denny Hamlin (third), Ty Gibbs (fourth), Christopher Bell (sixth), Tyler Reddick (10th) and Bubba Wallace (14th) join him inside the top 16 in the standings.

Toyota aims to continue short track prowess … With Hamlin’s victory Sunday night at Richmond, Toyota Camry XSEs have won, and dominated, all three short track races so far in 2024. Hamlin captured victory at Bristol two weeks ago, along with his Richmond triumph, and his Toyota and JGR teammate, Bell, took the checkered flag at Phoenix in early March. This weekend offers another opportunity for Camry XSE drivers to showcase their short track performance at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway.

Hamlin seeking another strong Martinsville performance … Coming into this weekend fresh off his second win of the season, Hamlin is also going for another solid performance at Martinsville Speedway. The Virginia-native has three consecutive top-five finishes at Martinsville, in which another would bolster his rise up the Cup Series points standings. Hamlin will also go for his sixth career victory at the famed short track.

Smith reclaims Xfinity points lead … After his second win of 2024, and repeat win at Richmond Raceway, Chandler Smith is back atop the Xfinity Series points standings six races into the season. The Georgia native has finished inside the top-10 each race so far this season, with top-five finishes in all but one race. He makes his third start at Martinsville this weekend, where he claimed a top-10 finish in the first of two races last year.

Toyota seeks four wins in five races at Martinsville … A victory by a Toyota GR Supra this weekend would be the fourth in five Xfinity Series races at Martinsville Speedway. John Hunter Nemechek is the most recent winner for Toyota at the Virginia track, capturing victory in the spring race last season. A triumph for Team Toyota would also be the fourth in five races in 2024 following Smith’s two victories in three races and Nemechek’s win at Las Vegas in March.

Heim, Gray lead Toyotas in the Truck Series … Back in action this weekend, Corey Heim and Taylor Gray are the lead Toyota Tundra TRD Pros in the NASCAR CRAFSTMAN Truck Series points standings. Heim comes into Martinsville fresh off his dominant victory at COTA two weeks ago, the sixth of his career, and now leads the Truck Series standings by 10 points. Gray has had a stellar start to his 2024 season with four consecutive top-10s, including tying his career-best finish of second at COTA. Both drivers will also run the Xfinity Series race, with Heim again piloting the No. 26 GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing and Gray making his second career Xfinity Series start with JGR in the No. 19 GR Supra. Both are coming off top-five finishes last weekend at Richmond.

Heim seeks Martinsville repeat … Not only would a win this weekend be Heim’s second in a row so far in 2024, it would also mark his second straight at Martinsville Speedway as the Georgia native captured victory last April. This was the first of Heim’s three wins in 2023 that propelled him to the regular season championship.

NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car

Ashley goes for Winternationals three-peat … After a rainout of the Winternationals final round at Pomona two weekends ago, Justin Ashley takes on Tony Schumacher this weekend for the event victory – which would be his third in a row at the Winternationals. The Winternationals finals take place during the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon at Firebird Motorsports Park. Ashley’s final round appearance is also the 25th consecutive final round for Toyota in either Top Fuel or Funny Car.

Ashley also seeks Arizona repeat … This weekend could be a monumental one for Ashley as he will also race for a repeat win in the Arizona Nationals. The New York native captured victory in the desert last March, which was his seventh career Top Fuel win. He enters this weekend seeking his 12th, and possibly 13th, career wins with two event victories on the table.

Langdon, Todd continue atop points … Heading into the Arizona Nationals, Toyota and Kalitta Motorsports’ Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd hold their leads atop the Top Fuel and Funny Car points standings. Langdon leads a Toyota-dominated Top Fuel category, where Toyota dragsters make up six of the top eight in the points standings. Todd leads a competitive Funny Car field where Toyota teammate, Ron Capps, sits third and only 47 points back.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota directly employs more than 63,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 26 electrified options.

For more information about Toyota, visit www.ToyotaNewsroom.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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