Toyota extends partnership with Sonoma Raceway through 2017

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In an age where sponsorships remain difficult to come by, it’s encouraging to hear Wednesday’s news that Toyota has extended its agreement to sponsor the annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

The final race of the existing deal is this weekend (June 20-22), capping off with Sunday’s Sprint Cup event, but the new agreement will extend the relationship between the auto manufacturer and the road course through 2017, track officials announced Wednesday.

Toyota has been co-sponsor of the race since 2007, and the new deal will extend it to a full decade. The automaker will also continue to provide the raceway’s official vehicle.

“Sonoma Raceway is one of the premier motor-sports venues on the West Coast and our partnership enables us to showcase the freshest line up of cars, trucks and SUVs in the industry,” Henry Hansel, president of the Northern California Toyota Dealer Advertising Association, said in a media release issued by the racetrack.

Added Sonoma Raceway president and general manager Steve Page, “We could not be more proud of our association with the Toyota brand, their terrific lineup of cars and trucks and the outstanding group of dealers in our region. We are grateful for their support of the raceway and the NASCAR event and look forward to working together for many years to come.”

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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.