By admin | June 3, 2013
By Richard Allen
To hear fans, media and other competitors tell it, Toyota is spending enormous amounts of cash to put themselves in position to dominate NASCAR. That may very well be true, but in at least one aspect of their program, the Japanese auto giant is not getting their moneys worth.
For yet another time in 2013, Toyota’s TRD engines were a major part of the story in Dover… and not for a good reason. Both Matt Kenseth(Joe Gibbs Racing) and Martin Truex, Jr.(Michael Waltrip Racing) suffered catastrophic engine failures which doomed them to poor finishes after each looked like a potential winner.
TRD blamed valve springs for both failures on ‘The Monster Mile’.
Had this been an isolated incident for Toyota teams it would have given cause for concern, but not necessarily alarm. But this was not an isolated incident.
Kenseth had an engine expire while leading the prestigious Daytona 500 back in February. And perhaps worse, his team was hammered by NASCAR when one of their engine parts failed a post-race inspection after their victory earlier this season in Kansas. Those initialÂ penalties were eventually reduced in the sanctioning body’s appeal process.
At almost the very same time Kenseth’s engine was breaking in Daytona, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, experienced an engine failure of his own. Engine trouble was also listed as the reason for Busch’s early departure from the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
Busch and fellow JGR driver Denny Hamlin experienced engine troubles during pre-race practice sessions in Phoenix as well. At that time, TRD officials assured everyone that there was no reason for concern.
But with these problems occurring at what can now be called a regular rate, there must be concerns behind the closed doors of TRD and the two top Toyota teams that use those power plants. With Kenseth, Busch and Clint Bowyer looking like Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders, it would be in the engine builder’s best interest to resolve whatever issues they have as soon as possible.
For that matter, it’s somewhat hard to believe that these issues haven’t already been taken care of. One has to wonder WTH is going on at TRD.
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