Toyota Notes and Quotes from Homestead 11.19.2017
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 19, 2017) – Toyota won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) manufacturer’s championship with a victory by Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim its second-consecutive Cup manufacturer’s title Sunday.
After winning its first Cup manufacturer’s title in 2016, Toyota won the 2017 championship on the strength of 16 victories this season, punctuated by the performance of Truex, who won the 2017 driver’s championship.
“Toyota is fortunate to have a great group of Camry drivers, and tremendous team partners, that allow us to have success on the race track and win accolades like the Cup manufacturer’s championship two years in a row,” said Keith Dahl, motorsports general manager for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “To be able to win the title in the first season racing the new 2018 Toyota Camry is truly remarkable and displays the effort TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and Calty Design put into preparing this championship-winning Camry.”
Four Camry drivers captured 16 victories in 2017 and four Toyotas advanced to the Playoffs, led by Truex with a series and career-best eight victories. Kyle Busch tallied five Cup wins this year, while Denny Hamlin took two trips to victory lane in his Camry and Matt Kenseth won one race.
“We also would like to congratulate Martin Truex Jr. on winning the Cup Series driver’s championship, as well as all of our Camry drivers for helping Toyota win another NASCAR manufacturer’s title,” said Dahl. “Earning our second-consecutive manufacturer’s title speaks to the hard work and consistency of our race teams and drivers who continue to push each other and challenge our great competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series.”
In addition to winning the manufacturer’s and driver’s championships in the Cup Series, Toyota also captured the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver’s and manufacturer’s titles.
Toyota won the 2017 Cup manufacturer’s championship using its new 2018 Toyota Camry that debuted during the 2017 season and before the new production model hit showrooms in the Fall. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, TRD, U.S.A. and Calty Design Research, Inc., Toyota’s U.S. design studio, worked together to develop the new Camry race car to ensure it intimately matched its new, radically redesign production counterpart and was built for success on the race track. The result was a 2018 Camry that won the manufacturer’s and driver’s championship and led a series-best 5,757 laps, the most-ever for Toyota in a single Cup season.
Toyota first entered MENCS competition in 2007, and the 2017 season marks the 10th anniversary of the Camry competing in the Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Since entering the MENCS, Toyota drivers have won 111 races and captured 107 pole positions over 396 races.
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How much of this season was for your girlfriend Sherry Pollex?
“A lot of it was for her. A lot of it was for me. A lot of it was for this team – just, I don’t even know what to say. We just never gave up all day long. We didn’t have the best car. I don’t know how we won that thing. Never give up. Dig deep. I told my guys we were going to dig dipper than we ever have today and 20 to go I thought I was done – they were all better than me on the long run all day long. I just found a way. I found a lane that I could use and I found a lane that was blocking enough of their air that they couldn’t use it and just made it happen. I can’t believe it. I’ve wanted this since I was a little kid and just never give up. Just never give up on your dreams no matter what happens and what kind of crap you go through and thank you Barney (Visser, team owner). I wish you were here, buddy. Thank you, Johnny (Morris, Bass Pro Shops), all our partners this year. What can I say about this team? Cole Pearn, Jazzy, all the road guys, the guys in Denver – you guys are the best, man. They work their guts out for me and I don’t even know – this is unbelievable, a dream come true. I don’t even know. I couldn’t even talk on the cautions laps, so just really thankful, really grateful and thank you to the fans. We’re going to party it up tonight.”
What does it mean to win this championship when you thought your career was near over at one point?
“It’s just overwhelming. To think about all the rough days and bad days, the days that couldn’t run 20th, to be here, I never thought this day would come and to be here is so unbelievable.”
What does it mean to you to have this fan support?
“Thank you guys so much for all your support – it helps us. It pushed us here tonight. It helps Sherry (Pollex) with her battle and positive info and positive mojo. We couldn’t do it without the fans and I couldn’t do it without this team and I couldn’t do it with Sherry and all her support. You guys here, NBC, FOX, earlier in the year. It’s just a dream season and I was going to be gutted if we didn’t win, but I was still going to know we gave it our all and luckily it was enough tonight.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.