It was a weekend for Toyota at Richmond Raceway. The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series in April have carried the Toyota sponsorship for quite a while. The ToyotaCare 250 already notched the manufacturer with an Xfinity win Saturday as Ty Gibbs grabbed the checkered flag.
The NASCAR Cup Toyota Owners 400 doubled down as Denny Hamlin drove the #11 FedEx Toyota to a Sunday win.
It did not look so obvious at the start. Ryan Blaney in the #12 Penske Ford and William Byron in the Liberty #12 Chevy started out on row 1 with the drop of the green. Blaney held the lead for the stage one win with Byron right there for second.
Blaney started stage two out front but Martin Truex, Jr took over following green flag pit stops. Truex and Christopher Bell traded off but the stage 2 win went to Truex with Bell claiming second. The #19 and #20 of Truex and Bell put Toyota in the spotlight at the stage 2 half way point.
The restart for the final stage put the #19 and the #20 back into running order. A caution brought on by a triple car shot as Cole Custer and Ty Dillon touched which pushed into Austin Cindric. William Byron stays out as others pit for position on the lead at the restart.
Martin Truex, Jr was chasing on the #24 of Byron. As laps ticked by, Truex stayed on the #24 but Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin were making gains. Hamlin was running fresher tires than the rest and made better time.
At five laps to go Hamlin went by Truex and took the inside of the #24. Harvick also drove the advantage of the high side #24 and followed the #11 by. Hamlin and Harvick ran one and two for the checkers.
The racing doesn’t have too far to go for the next event. NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Series all make their way to Martinsville for the next race weekend. Blue Emu / Call 811 weekend runs late in the day Thursday through Saturday to finish under the lights at the historic “paperclip”, celebrating 75 years of NASCAR at the track.
Full Photo Gallery of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway – April 3, 2022