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2-Headed Monster: Should NASCAR Slow Down the Toyotas?

Toyota’s have dominated the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season thus far, and Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch’s early wins in the playoffs have some individuals around the sport calling for the sanctioning body to make rule changes to slow the Japanese manufacturer down in order to create better competition week to week. 

Should NASCAR slow the Toyota’s down for the remaining eight playoff races?

Don’t Complain, Get Better

I’ve had enough of the complaints from drivers, team members, fans, media and the like about how Toyota has such a big advantage this season.

I have a great, novel idea that might help Chevrolet, Ford and the other manufacturers catch up. Wait for it, wait for it…

Go to work.

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it?

Toyota is the best in the sport right now for a multitude of reasons. Starting out with the thing that makes the world go round: money.

Ford and Chevrolet have poured gallons upon gallons into their respective programs, but Toyota has one-upped them. Maybe not in the amount of capital they’re devoting, but where they’re devoting it.

On a Dirty Mo Radio podcast this week, Door Bumper Clear, Brett Griffin, spotter for Clint Bowyer in the Cup Series, had a series of thoughts that I wholeheartedly agreed with.

In short, Griffin said that one of the main reasons Toyota has such a big advantage now is because they’ve committed so much to the lower series. Both the Camping World Truck and XFINITY series regulars are dominated by Toyotas. Not to mention both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West divisions, as Todd Gilliland is going for a sweep of both championships in a Toyota.

Having drivers like Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell and a host of other superstars (and young, budding ones) doesn’t hurt, either.

Heck, they had Darrell Wallace Jr. and William Byron but they let them walk elsewhere because they didn’t have enough space for them in their program. Talk about a good problem to have.

But why should the sanctioning body step in to correct a problem that’s not their fault?

Toyota’s dominance can be attributed to two main parties: Toyota itself and the other manufacturers that keep losing to them week in and week out.

I challenge the bowtie and blue oval brigade to step up their games, not rely on NASCAR to even out the playing field for them. This is a big boy sport. Nobody is going to babysit you.

I know the sanctioning body has stepped in and corrected “problems” like these in the past, but these are different times. I bet you that 99.9 percent of fans, drivers, executives, etc. back then would have never guessed that we’d have stage racing, no Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, soon to be Dale Earnhardt Jr., an intricate, round-by-round playoff system and that we’d have another seven-time champion.

Unprecedented times, people. Unprecedented times.

And for those of you who think Toyota is paying me to write this? I drive a Fusion. So you’re wrong.

The point is this, folks: Toyota has earned where it currently is in the hierarchy of NASCAR. It hasn’t been given. Remember those early stages of Toyota Racing Development with Red Bull, BK, JGR (before they were the JGR of 2017) and others? Because I do. And it wasn’t pretty.

Now with six of the fastest cars, best drivers, and most well-rounded teams in the garage, they’re staring the Monster Cup straight in the face. And if (more like when) Toyota earns that trophy, I better not hear anybody asking NASCAR to take that advantage away. – Davey Segal

Give Us a Race, Not a Parade

I give Toyota a lot of credit. In 10 short years, it became the dominant manufacturer of NASCAR.

I remember how horrible those Camrys were when they first entered the sport with Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing in 2007. Toyota has truly worked hard and poured in tons of resources to become the cars to beat.

That being said, Toyota’s dominance is hurting the sport, and the governing body needs to take away whatever gigantic advantage it has over Ford and Chevrolet.

You don’t believe that the Toyotas have a huge advantage?

Truex’s No. 78 Toyota was involved in a wreck this past weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and still managed a top-five finish. He beat somewhere around 25 cars that did not have damage.  Meanwhile, Busch’s Toyota almost lapped the field en route to victory.

The week before that, Truex stunk up the race at Chicagoland Speedway. Truex was so much better than the rest of the field that Chase Elliott’s team cheated by putting tape on the spoiler of his Chevrolet and still had nothing for Truex.

When teams are cheating and still not able to beat the Toyotas, it screams that the manufacturer has too much of a competitive edge and it’s time for NASCAR to step in.

I realize this sounds like the classic statement from a member of the participation trophy generation, but I am not saying it for Ford and Chevy’s benefit; I am saying it for NASCAR’s benefit.

The first two races of this year’s playoffs, and much of the regular season, have been considered duds because they weren’t races, they were parades. Every race, you have to figure that either Busch or Truex are going to win by a landslide. Who wants to see that?

It’s the same reason I won’t watch the New England Patriots play the Cleveland Browns. If the Browns only lost that game by 20 points then it would be a decent outing. Right now, if Ford and Chevy only lose by 20 seconds to Busch or Truex, then it is a decent outing.

The whole point of having playoffs is to have 16 drivers capable of winning races and championships. It will take a miracle for a Ford or Chevy driver to win the title this year.

NASCAR is trying to get more manufacturers in the sport, but letting one dominate is hurting those chances. If the sanctioning body does not help Ford and Chevy close the gap, why should those two stick around?

NASCAR somehow convinced Dodge to come back in 2001 to less than stellar results. With the exception of Brad Keselowski’s championship, the manufacturer did next to nothing and left the sport. Had NASCAR helped Dodge close the gap then maybe it would still be around.

No manufacturer wants to be a part of a sport in which is has little shot at winning.

Back in the 1990s, manufacturer wars were a big part of the sport. The Chevys would get ahead and NASCAR would change the rules for Fords to catch up and vice versa. Let’s not forget that that time period was one in which NASCAR saw tons of growth. Parity among manufacturers likely helped that.

We have zero parity among makes right now and it is having the opposite effect on the sport.

NASCAR, for the sake of all of the bored to death fans everywhere, please slow those Toyotas down. – Michael Massie

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About Davey Segal

Davey Segal
Davey joined the site prior to the 2017 season and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the bi-weekly column "Fire on Fridays" and spearheads Frontstretchs video content. He's covered the ARCA Menards Series East and West extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as a production assistant for NBC Sports Washington.

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12 comments

  1. Avatar

    “I drive a Fusion”, what the hell does that mean? Really what meaning does it have? You are brought a Ford but are above taking cash from TOYOTA or anybody else. What a stupid statement.

    I don’t think anybody wants a welfare handout, well TOYTOTA did a few years ago. The point missing with the media is NASCAR allows others to do, and others to don’t. Ford 10 races or so in for instance this year approved pre season, then NASCAR decided NO, you are not in conformity and CHANGE it. They were performing, and they were winning. The idiot FORDS changed without protest. Reminder, everything was approved!!!!!! Then they started doing something with it and POOF, NASCAR DOES NOT LIKE.. CHANGE!

    All of sudden here comes TOYOTAS. DURING THE SEASON THEY CHANGED A WHOLE MANUFACTURER! How is that possible, after a sign off? You have the nerve to say to the other manufacturers GET BETTER????? They were and NASCAR clipped their wings.

    Now the laughable TOYOTA has “EARNED”. LOL

    COME TO THINK ABOUT THE GET BETTER BS you idiots spew! I cannot recall but would like to see your stance a 3 years ago (?) with TOYOTA in CUP for a years going BOOM BOOM BOOM. Their engines could not handle the HP that the other cars could! THEY WHINED and NASCAR made the two other manufacturers reduce at great expense THEIR HP so TOYOTA basically could mimic in CUP their success at the Xifinity level, as the engines now are pretty much the same!

    Are you kidding me, or do you have short memories. I don’t see Roger whining or anybody else the ways the TOYS did, but I damn well wish they would. They are getting run over and it is embarrassing, and not in a fair fashion thanks to NASCAR. Does Roger or Rick give a good God damn anymore? The treatment of the 22 car this year with a bunch of BS first’s and no action or protest from Roger is a clue! IMO!

    NASCAR has turned a blind eye other than a lugnut rule or two regarding TOYOTA, Marty every week gets a time out or not for his numerous pre race inspection failures. The week of Chicago HE had 4 pass thru failures…he got what? 30 minutes AND STILL GOT TO PRACTICE, the week before 3 fail pass thru’s. Logano does it at LOUDON and you would have though he ran over Brian’s dog. MADE him sit on the track in full gear for the whole damn time, with the bully BS that he knew and they knew, they were not letting him on the track to practice. I would have left the car where it was parked with a big middle finger to the camera I knew was on me. What the fluck was that about? An attempt at total humiliation! Marty? NEVER…TOYS NEVER. Yeah TOYS EARNED IT ALL. That investment in the sport, that wing at DAYTONA rising all the TOYOTA sponsored races, yeah, they are treated the same…LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO! How ignorant and naïve regarding business! Truly.

  2. Avatar

    Toyota is dominating because Brian allows them to, for whatever reason, because he can. I wonder what Mr. H is thinking?

  3. Avatar

    A manufacturer being dominant is a problem. What I don’t understand is that each time a manufacturer gets a new nose, they celebrate because it will make their cars faster.

    Here is the problem with that… if the cars are supposed to be equal in aerodynamics, then why should a new nose make a difference? It is clear to me that Toyota designed this nose in a way that it “appeared” equal but in actuality has contributed to them having an advantage.

    So, Toyota beat nascar and outsmarted them. Now nascar needs to dial them back – we thought the nose offered the same performance as the previous design, we were wrong and we need to correct it.

    Of course Toyota teams will be upset, but there is a difference between beating someone with parts you can change and control, and being beaten with mandated parts.

  4. Avatar

    The rules are the same for everybody. Where was all this fuss earlier this season when Truex had the ONLY fast Toyota?

    • Avatar

      What happened when the Fords were fast? The same thing that usually happened. Brian slowed them down. Why isn’t that happening now? Brian knows the answer.

  5. Avatar

    I could have sworn we were talking about racing. A sport where the goal is to be the one who gets to the finish line first. As long as its done legally it shouldn’t matter whether someone figures out something better. Then its up to the other guys to either stay with what the have or try to improve.

    • Avatar

      But when one guy figures it out a and the rules are changed to slow him down people notice.

      • Avatar

        Seems most people don’t know what happened to Ford 10 races or so in. Hmmm….NASCAR told them, CHANGE IT. AFTER THEY SIGNED OFF ON EVERYTHING pre season. The fix is in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why the other teams put up with this BS is amazing. Keep it real DONINAJAX!

  6. Avatar

    Yeah, huh Mr. Segal? I find your whole opt-ed thing-ie here is highly opinionated wishful thinking, objectionable, & in my opinion, ill-advised & false, if not delusional, from top to bottom. It is typical of a neophyte Toyota advocate to assume the political position of supporting exhibitionism & the corporate version of exhibitionists that has destroyed the NXS & CWT, bc you know no better version of Nascar. Yet you brag? Those how have advocated the series for longer than a decade, know how it got to the Global epitome motorsports, & have a better grasp on why it is in a state of retraction & decline. Icymi – an exhibitionist is any driver that is NOT illegible for drivers points. Icymi – anytime an exhibitionist is on a track during a race, the race ceases to be motor-sport, or a race, & becomes a motor-exhibition (aka: formula drift or monster trucks). Yet you brag?
    And, for crying out loud, exhibitionism & corporate exhibitionism is most certainly a sanctioning body issue! Nascar controls LITERALLY every-eff’in-thing man! As if they are not lords of their domain, lmbho? To think not is comical neophyte delusion. They would have 5 year-olds playing wheel-barrow races in the tri-oval every weekend if they could make money off of them, which is not far-off from what the CWT & NXS has evolved into under the guise of corporate exhibitionism. Corporate avarice is the ONLY reason Nascar permits exhibitionism. Granted it, a modicum of “work” from the Toyota crews has transpired (not even I would deny that), but the foremost reason Toyota has ridden to success is bc they BOUGHT it, thru one form or another of lining Nascar’s pockets. Bailing-out a corporation in Nascar’s scenario might be a fair business practice, but it is NOT fair to refer to Nascar’s brands as “sports” after the bailout comes from one of the corporate-competitors competing on the sporting field-of-play that is purported to be fair & balanced! Yet you brag? Furthermore, Nascar instinctually permits it thru survival & greed, hence they promote the destruction of their sports integrity, hence they have destroyed their own brand. After all, if a sporting body has no sports integrity, they are NADA!
    Please pay especially close attention to this part, bc, for a motorsports MSM member, you seem to lack comprehensive understanding your topic, & are making counter-intuitive assertions above & beyond the ones previously mentioned. Here’s a word I suspect you ought’a look up, bc it sound like you have no idea what you are talking about. Please refer to the definition of the word: “homologate”! In IMSA, WEC circles it is refer to as “balance of performance” or “BoP”. To one degree or another, homologation is a critically important aspects of ANY sport, namely every Motorsport category in the world. In Nascar circles homologation does not get a lot of press, bc copping to it hurts the fictional “stock car” image they need to propagate, bc “stock car auto racing” is literally their namesake. But your can bet your bippie homologation is a HUGE part of Nascar’s game, the majority of what they spend their man-hours & fiscal budget on. As boring & counter-productive it’s rational might be to MSM sensationalists mode of operation, aside from safety, homologation is the foremost function of a ANY motorsport (or ANY sport) sanctioning authority. Homologation in motorsports, by definition, is meant to EQUALIZE the field’s different manufacturers. In it’s absence, or when done ineffectively, like F1 or an NFL vs. Pee-Wee football game, it results in run-away competitions whose results are largely predetermined & “boring”. This can be & often is catastrophic to a sanctioning body’s appeal & bottom-line, like most of the Cup events in the latter half or this season. Yet you wish not, huh?
    Being generous, I would say only the CWT contains 3 makes that are remotely close to being properly balanced. Clearly Ford suffers from not emphasizing competition in this category, so they loose thru a battle of attrition more than anything else, unlike as you absurdly assert, a lack of work ethic, lmbho. The same is true of Ford, to a lesser degree, in the NXS. In the NXS & CWT Toyota & Chevy have an arguably minor homologation advantage, but a major advantage in the amounts of entrants & exhibitionists they deploy. This, more than anything, provides them positive results thru a “battle of attrition”. That is to say superior numbers provide: superior opportunities to block, superior pit strategies & superiority thru rough driving (the latter of which Nascar very clearly is the Global motorsports leader in promoting). It is literally equatable to a 3 against 1 MMA match. So, Ford opts NOT to deploy heavy levels of exhibitionists in their meager amounts of entrants. Why, I don’t know, but you should not be oblivious to this in attempting to substantiate your alt-facts I can only guess as to the reason, which I think is central to the notion that Ford sees no need to throw money, hand-over-fist, at lesser under-card series, & bankrupt themselves, like Chevy & Dodge recently did. And mind you, thru relying on exhibitionists for sustenance, the NXS & CWTS essentially ethically bankrupted themselves. So to me, it seems Ford’s prudence is the better part of valor. Personally, I find it a note worthy & admirable business model. Yet you mock? This literally results in experienced professional (NFL) grade drivers going up against a High School squad of Junior & Seniors. In such an environment, why would anyone bother to spend a dime? Yet you brag about stealing candy from kidz, mock & call the children “losers”? What the heck is wrong with you man?
    And the fun part is, by Toyota fielding battalions of exhibitionists to impart tutelage upon youngsters, they impede the development of their own youth, & actually educate a disproportionate percentage of Ford youngsters (Blaney, Buescher, Custer, Stenhouse, etc., etc., etc.), & make them all the stronger. Lmbho! Then there are the guys they invest untold millions in developing who they can not retain (Wallace, Logano). Yeah, go figure, huh?
    Regardless & moreover, the NXS & CWT categories are an off-topic pivot-point from the real issue at hand. This political tactic of distraction, rationalization & deferment is admirable, but easily recognizable as pseudo-Russian-troll-farm BS deployed to dilute & render the discussion impotent.
    More on point, the sober reality is the CUP series CLEARLY has a systemic homologation IMBALANCE benefiting Toyota! It shows-up as-plain-as-day on the final results pylon, in stats (passes & laps lead), but most resoundingly in the lap times, of practically every session (in which Toyota puts forth an earnest effort) in the latter half of the season, & especially Qualifying, where the anomaly of #18 & #78 topping the next best by a half or a whole second per lap has become a common-place weekly occurrence. Yet you brag, whilst desperately clinging to your list of ill-informed, inadequate irrational excuses? Really, you ought’a be in Trump’s WH cabinet with your Un-American, fake-news, alt-reality show skills. Just saying.
    Furthermore, icymi, after Richmond (where Logano’s “encumbered” penalty incidentally occurred), Nascar took particular steps (in conjunction with, but superfluous to the #22’s penalties) to slow-up the Fords. They have been somewhat secretive about the details of the revisions, but I have heard implications that it was under-chassis aero-ground effects &/or shortening or trimming the rear quarter panels. Since the homologation body force these changes on Ford, minus their restrictor plate wins, Ford has been reduced from the top of the pylon, to also-ran underling status. In the same time-frame, Toyota has been permitted to deploy the ’18 version of the Camry body in ’17. Grant it, it is arguable if Nascar’s stepping-in & woe-ing up the Fords was necessary. As a staunch Ford devotee, even I will admit, perhaps it was, since Ford was dominate early on this season. But Nascar pretty clearly stepped beyond the point of balance, & now Toyota has a clear & decisive advantage. So YES! Nascar needs to equalize this field, for their own sake!
    So, this is what all the gripping from the Ford camp is all about! And you can stuff your “work ethic” hyperbole in your hat mate! Better yet, in words that I am sure you loved hearing from your blow-up doll in retort to Super Brad recently… kindly “STFU” Dave!

  7. Avatar

    Seriously, you FORD TROLLS should have your own newsletter, podcast or something. You definitely can put some words together. And your right in most cases. But we have short attention spans, can you say it fifty words or less!