Toyota: Creation of a Dominant NASCAR Team

Michael LiddleContributor IJuly 23, 2008

This month's topic of the NASCAR Nationwide Series has been the Nationwide Series No. 20 Toyota engine.  Some say that the car has an unfair advantage over the remaining field of cars because of the newly introduced Toyota engine.  

After rigorous testing of numerous engines this week, it was shown that there was no more than a 2hp gap between the Ford, Dodge, Chevy, and Toyota engines.

Even so, some still believe that the Toyota engines should be governed.  I feel this is ridiculous. Each team is given the same parameters for creating the best performance out of their engines.

There are five major reasons why such a young manufacturing company in the NASCAR circuit has been so successful in dominating the veterans of this American sport.

5. This is not Toyota's first time in racing.   They have had engines in open wheeled racing for years.  They have even been in racing sports that some American manufacturing teams have not even touched, such as water sports.  This means that they have more garage data than most NASCAR garages.  They are familiar with high revving engines...and heck...these engines don't even rev as high as the ones they are used to.

4. I know we all wanted the new manufacturer to suffer the first 10 years they were in NASCAR.  It's the only way it would feel fair.  But let's be honest, coming into a multi-million dollar investment is not a joke.  A company like Toyota would only bring the best of the best to the best damn sport in America.

3. Japan is a country where quality is important.  The size of the country does not allow wasting products that goes on in America.  Japan has limited space to throw away garbage and cars for that matter.  A country like that needs a products to last a long time.  Toyota is a company that has made quality its No. 1 priority, and it can be seen in its NASCAR engines.  Just look on the road.  The only 300,000-mile Fords you see are ones with rebuilt engines and completely restored bodies, but that ugly old boxy Toyota from 1985 probably has 300,000 miles on it, simply with oil changes.

2. Toyota has had a devoted racing team called the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) team that focuses on all motor sports for years.  I know that Chevy, Ford, and Dodge have a racing division, too, but they simply think that bigger is better.  I know this will make a lot of people mad, but the SRT, Z, and other special edition cars simply have bigger engines and a superchargers slapped on.  That doesn't take too much R&D to figure out that will make the car go faster.  American development teams are focused on making the spoiler cooler and the rims bigger, and that just adds weight.

1. Toyota has been developing their major sports, super, and racing cars without winding superchargers.  Their art of creating an efficient naturally aspirated engine has been a goal for years allowing them to maximize power without forced induction.  This has made it easy for them to use their data to create a naturally aspirated V8 to use in their NASCAR team cars.  When the American teams cannot rely on their superchargers anymore, it is a tremendous horsepower drop and there is no wonder why they have trouble keeping up with such an experienced powerhouse.

I'm not trying to say that I don't think that American teams are not experienced or don't know what they are doing.  I'm just saying that the success that Toyota is having is justified and that the degree of success is possibly even more justified by the history of this overseas company.  After all, they don't just produce minivans.