A NASCAR Cup championship. Another manufacturer's title.
The 2019 NASCAR season was memorable for Toyota. Driving the No. 18 Toyota, Kyle Busch became the 16th multiple champion in Cup history. Thanks primarily to Joe Gibbs Racing's depth (three drivers in the championship four), Toyota also claimed its third manufacturer's title in the past four seasons.
But 2020 is a new year. Here's a look at the Toyota prospects for the 2020 season:
JOE GIBBS RACING
Busch's title was the fifth in JGR's history, joining Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Busch's first (2015). With its talented stable of drivers, it's not a stretch to think JGR is well-positioned for a sixth in 2020. JGR drivers won a series-record 19 races this year.
-- Kyle Busch: Although he wasn't at his best for much of the playoffs, Busch made it count at Homestead. He went 22 races between victories, which was a cause for concern for a while. But there's little doubt that Busch, perhaps the sport's most talented driver, will be right there again next season.
-- Martin Truex Jr.: If not for an inexplicable pit-road mistake at Homestead, we might be talking about Truex as a two-time champion. He was on his game during the playoffs, and won a season-high seven races, including three in the playoffs. He's probably been the Cup's most consistent driver over the past few years. He'll contend again.
-- Denny Hamlin: Who's the best driver to have never won a title? It's still Hamlin. Starting with a victory in the Daytona 500, he seemed poised to break through last season, but came up short at Homestead. Championship No. 1 remains on the horizon for the No. 11 Toyota.
-- Erik Jones: He made the playoffs as the 10th seed and won the Southern 500 at Darlington. He's one of the sport's next generation of stars and will only get better in JGR's equipment.
LEAVINE FAMILY RACING
Christopher Bell will be a rookie-of-the-year candidate with this one-car team, which has a technical alliance with JGR. Bell, who drove in the Xfinity Series for Gibbs for three seasons, won the Truck Series title in 2017. He replaces Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 95 Camry.
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