Nifty Fifty: Toyota hits Sprint Cup milestone

Leave a comment

After two weeks of being in the headlines for engine reliability issues, the folks at Toyota are celebrating after Matt Kenseth brought them their 50th victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

David Wilson, senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development, hailed his TRD compatriots Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing on Twitter after the checkered flag: “So proud of our @toyotaracing TRD team. We have the best people in the world. Thank you @JoeGibbsRacing and @mattkenseth for believing.”

Kenseth and JGR teammate Kyle Busch saw their TRD motors let go while fighting within the lead pack at the Daytona 500, and one week ago at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch and another JGR pilot, Denny Hamlin, had to start from the rear of the field after valve spring problems forced their teams to swap engines.

But today in Vegas, there were no problems for the TRD camp. In addition to Kenseth’s victory, Busch (fourth) and Michael Waltrip Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) also posted strong results.

For his part, Kenseth said he wasn’t concerned about reliability problems emerging in today’s 400-miler.

“The stuff runs really, really good, and I knew, obviously, they knew there was a problem there and they were going to work on it and fix it,” he said.

When you think about it, it’s only fitting that Kenseth and JGR has delivered Toyota its milestone 50th victory in NASCAR’s top series. The team, with Busch at the wheel, also gave the manufacturer its inaugural Cup win on March 9, 2008 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

IndyCar
1 Comment

Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski