First NASCAR Cup Manufactures Championship for Toyota?
Let’s Go Places. Toyota is on the brink of placing their mark on stock car racing history. Toyota is looking to claim it’s first NASCAR Cup Series Manufactures Championship. A sign of changing times given the classic domination by American-Made manufactures in the world of stock car racing.
Toyota has a very good chance ending that American-Made NASCAR trend.Toyota leads the manufactures standings heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. They also have better odds than any other manufacture, given their 30 point advantage.
A finish of 26th or better by a Toyota driver should clinch the 2016 NASCAR Manufactures title. Championship 4 drivers include Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Two of the four are piloting a Toyota Camry. The odds, anyway you look at it, are in favor of the Japanese auto manufacture via Joe Gibbs Racing.
Toyota first dipped it’s toes into NASCAR in 200o via the Goody’s Dash Series. However, that took a slow approach to the premier series of stock car racing in the United States. In 2004, they entered the NASCAR Truck Series.
It wasn’t until 2007 that they entered machines in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing Team, along with long-time Cup team Bill Davis Racing began the Toyota program in NASCAR. The Red Bull Racing Team didn’t last long in NASCAR. Michael Waltrip Racing also closed it’s doors in recent years.
However, since it’s inception. Several teams have picked up Toyota branding. Today, BK Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing run Toyota Camry’s in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Kyle Busch handed Toyota its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. That win cam in the Kobalt Tools 500 hosted at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 9, 2008. The same driver would later hand the manufacture it’s first drivers championship, just last year.
Toyota now has a chance of placing their mark in the record books of stock car racing history. Since it’s inception in 1949, the NASCAR manufactures cup championship has been dominated by domestic auto manufactures.
Chevrolet alone, has claimed the title 39 times. Ford has claimed it 15 times. In the early days, Hudson took 3. Buick and Dodge share the title, twice. Plymouth, Pontiac and Oldsmobile have each taken the NASCAR Manufactures Title 1 time. A list full of American auto companies.
The US auto manufactures have split the title every year since 1949. NASCAR has gone nearly 70 years without a foreign owned manufacture claiming it’s manufactures championship. It was only a matter of time before a non-American owned manufacture took the title of stock car racing in America. 2016, is their best chance yet.
Until last year, the same could be said for the drivers championship. Kyle Busch ended that steak, giving Toyota their first NASCAR Drivers Championship. One year later Toyota is coming back with a chance of taking the Manufactures title.
Moving Forward, the 2016 manufactures championship, Toyota could sweep both 2016 NASCAR championships. They have better odds of any other manufacture in the drivers championship points as well. Ford and Chevrolet each have 1 driver in the championship 4 round. Toyota has double the odds, with two drivers fighting for the championship in NASCAR’s final race.
In a certain sense, Toyota is just as American-made as the others. As Ford and GM place factories outside the borders of the United States, Toyota has been moving in-land. Toyota has a factories in Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas, Indiana, Alabama and West Virginia.
GM has 12 assembly plants in the US. Ford has 8. Toyota has 4.
The final race takes place this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Toyota in NASCAR
Author: Shane Walters
Photos: Matt Hazlett/Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images