June 2, 2014

Kyle Busch, Toyota roll into Texas Motor Speedway on a hot streak

The manufacturer has won seven consecutive races in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kyle Busch is at it again.

Winning every NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in sight.

But so is Toyota.

The manufacturer, led by Busch’s four wins in four starts, has won all five races in the truck series this year and seven in a row, counting the last two last year.

Go back a little further, and it’s 11 of the past 12 as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night for the WinStar World Casino 400.

“I can’t say enough about everyone on this Kyle Busch Motorsports team, everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports chassis,” Busch said after winning at Dover on Friday night. “They are building us some awesome chassis. They’re fast.”

He was talking about his own Toyota team. But the veteran driver could as easily be talking about the others.

Red Horse Racing’s Timothy Peters leads the points standings after finishing 10th at Dover.

ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton, who won the championship last year, and Johnny Sauter are tied for second place, each trailing by a point.

Red Horse Racing’s German Quiroga, who posted his sixth consecutive top-10 last week, is only five points behind the tie.

“We have our trucks sitting there ready to go for Texas and for Gateway,” Peters said, looking at the next two races on the schedule.

But Toyota didn’t win at Texas last year. (And Gateway, outside of St. Louis, hasn’t hosted a truck series race in four years).

So Toyota has a hurdle to keep its winning streak going this week. Ty Dillon won for Chevrolet at TMS last November, and Jeb Burton won for Chevy in June.

But for the Toyota drivers now, if they want to think more about what they have to do to hold off another Toyota driver, no one can blame them.

“I know it’s hard. Competition is really tough in the truck series,” Quiroga said. “We can make it happen. There’s Johnny Sauter — he’s really close to us in points, so we have to keep on fighting every week so we can move forward instead of going backward. Being in the top-five, for us through five races, I will say, puts us in a position to win the championship in those last five races. We have to keep on doing that until the end of the year and hopefully we can do it. That’s the main goal of my sponsors, myself and the whole team.”

Sauter swept both TMS races in 2012 for Toyota. Chevy swept the 2011 races with Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kevin Harvick.

The previous four years have also been sweeps — 2010 and ’09 for Toyota, ’08 for Chevy and ’07 for Toyota.

So Friday night’s race could be telling about November’s race. By then, the championship could be in sight for a Toyota driver, judging on the first five races of the year.

“Dover kicked off kind of our summer stretch, to where we are on three, off one and back on three again,” Peters said. “The team is what wins you races, and who prepares the best is who ends up coming out on top at Homestead.

“I put our race team up against any guys in the garage area.”

So far, every Toyota driver can say about the same thing.

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