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Since first partnering together at the beginning of the 2019 NCS season, Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart have proven to be a lethal combination. Hamlin began the 2020 season with his second consecutive Daytona 500 win, further stamping his place in the record books. Once NASCAR returned from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Hamlin proved that he was a championship contender. He drove to the win in the Toyota 500 at Darlington – the second race back – and added victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Kansas Speedway and Dover International Speedway in the regular season. He went into the Playoffs as the second seed and drove to the Championship 4, picking up his seventh win of the season at Talladega Superspeedway. His seven victories are the most in a single season for Hamlin since 2010.
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Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch ended up tied in the final point standings after 36 races. Truex and Busch both scored one win during the season with Truex adding to his recent short track success with a victory at Martinsville Speedway, while Busch added a win late in the season at Texas Motor Speedway to extend his win streak to 16 consecutive seasons.
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Erik Jones completed the Joe Gibbs Racing lineup for the 2020 season and just missed out on the final spot in the Playoffs. He started the year with a non-points win in a wild Busch Clash at Daytona. Jones had nine top-five finishes, which ranked as the ninth-best total in the NCS and earned a season-best second-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in the fall. Jones ended the season 17th in the final point standings – the first driver below the Playoff cutoff.
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Rookie Christopher Bell completed his first NCS season in 20th-place in the final point standings, a series best for Leavine Family Racing (LFR). Bell had several strong runs in his debut Cup Series season including a fourth-place effort at Pocono Raceway in June and a third-place result at LFR’s home race – Texas Motor Speedway – in October.
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Daniel Suarez completed Team Toyota’s Cup Series lineup as his team, Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR), went full-time for the first time. Suarez and GBR were very consistent and finished the season as the highest-ranking non-charter team.
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Toyota ended the 2020 Cup Series season with nine victories, 57 top-five finishes and 84 top-10 results.
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