After last night’s post on conspiracy theories I received a comment about Toyota and not including that in the entry. That got me to thinking about the larger implications and frustration fans are having with Toyota. While their banner run this season has left many questioning advantages the manufacturer may have gotten from NASCAR, the truth is, the vast divide may not be as wide as you think.
Recently NASCAR performed engine tests with Toyota and the other manufacturers. I know at least one non-Toyota team had motors within a couple horsepower of Toyota. While it is true they had a horsepower advantage, it really was not enough to make a difference.
So far this season Toyota has eight wins in the Sprint Cup Series and 14 wins in the Nationwide Series. While Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota have certainly been dominant in Nationwide (NASCAR responded today by removing power from Toyota on that end), that same dominance does not translate to the Cup series. Kyle Busch has won all but one of the races for Gibbs and Toyota. Denny Hamlin is the only other Gibbs and Toyota driver to have won a race.
The key to Toyota success right now? Kyle Busch. No matter what your personal feelings are, the fact is, the kid can drive a race car. Something has clicked over there for him and his team and as a result they are winning races. Obviously the same is not true for Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin. As far as other Toyota teams go, Micheal Waltrip is having trouble, Bill Davis has not done anything and Red Bull, while slightly improved, is not blowing anyone away.
As far as Busch’s dominance goes, I touched on this in my post, Kyle Busch an Anomaly? Not So Fast. Just as he is winning with Toyota this year, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon did it with Chevrolet in previous seasons. People screamed about Chevrolet performance in those years and NASCAR reacted. It is what they do.
In the end though, Toyota really is not as great as people are making them out to be. Sure they have had success this year, but would that be happening without Kyle Busch?
Let us know what you think. Were the restrictions on Toyota necessary? Will it make any difference? Will Kyle Busch continue his knockout season?