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WTH is going on at TRD?

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 initial 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.



Topics: Articles |

14 Responses to “WTH is going on at TRD?”

  1. Robert Green Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Seems like TRD’s problems last season became most noticeable once the weather turned hot. Dover was the first hot weather race this season and here we go again… Can anything be done within NASCAR’s guidelines to cool the engines down a few degrees? Probably not…

  2. Tony Geinzer Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Toyota is a Bad Joke. I really want Dodge Back Again and Honda in NASCAR. I want Honda and Dodge to prove their merit before they send us a Championship Contender and Toyota lacks a “Real” Sports Car.

  3. Gene Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Kyle is claiming that the problem is irreparable. That TRD knows there are microscopic dirt particles in the metal they used for parts, and they can’t do anything about it.

    Hard to believe that they wouldn’t just throw out all the affected parts. Could Kyle be joking?

  4. Josh Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I think TRD is getting their money’s worth in having cars up front. It’s the teams that suffer from this. JGR did well with its engine program, TRD could go back to letting Gibbs build their own motors, but I creates a split between Toyota teams. This engine issue has cost teams a lot of money and points.

  5. Offkilter Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Could it be that trd’s cup engine program is managed somewhat like just another giant lathargic corporate entity? Too much red tape and middle management? In spite of themselves, toyota is dominating the races. The folks that whine about Hendrick and the 48 team domination haven’t seen nothing if the gibbs and mwr teams ever figure out how to close out a race.
    Gibbs has found something with this new car and how to make it work through the center of the turns.

  6. RacingFan Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 12:35 am

    While you almost have to wonder if the TRD engines are being assembled by a junior high shop class somewhere, my guess is that both Edwards and Biffle would jump at the chance to swap rides with any Gibbs driver. My guess is that Kenseth doesn’t miss the days of finishing every race, but battling to finish in the top ten.
    But back to the engines: each team is spending $100,000 per race to rent an engine. NASCAR is not getting its money’s worth from that cost in entertainment value for the fans. That money has to come from somewhere, and it can’t be spent on other things that might make the racing more interesting.
    At least having an engine blow once in a while means a manufacturer might be pushing the limit to gain extra power. That will at least add some intrigue and suspense to a race and help justify that huge engine bill. If that is what Toyota is doing, more power to them. However the connecting rod issue makes me think their engine problems are just sloppiness, because the mistake they made would gain them no extra power.

  7. Sue Rarick Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 6:14 am

    No Toyota driver will win a championship as long as TRD keeps making excuses instead of solving their problem. On average each TRD user will see one engine failure during the chase and you just can’t give up one race to the other 11 drivers.

    Microscopic dirt(?????), you will find microscopic impurities in the most carefully made part. Even a clean room has a percentage of foreign material. This definitely sounds like someone hunting for an excuse.

    Most race engine builders were laughing when TRD said they put the part on Kennseth’s engine without checking its weight. Imagine how much power the TRD engine would put out if they balanced the engine - j/k

    Has anyone kept count of the number of times TRD has used broken valve spring as an excuse for a blown engine?

    They might as well save some money and buy them from JC Whitney.

  8. Arnold Decker Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I hope the toyota engines continue to fall apart. It would
    prove that money cannot buy everything.

  9. Jesse Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    You said it all Rich, the Japanese auto giant, they are not and never will be a American auto giant. The profits go to Japan.

  10. JT Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Many moons ago, back in the 1980s, Ford went through this with Bud Moore and the Wood Bros. Their motors were bad-fast, but wound not last due to weak valve springs. Then came Ernie Elliott, who figured out how to solve the valve spring issues, while tweaking even more RPMs and HP out of a Ford motor. The rest, as they say, was history, as his brother Bill went on to win the Winston Million, and later, the Winston Cup.

    TRD’s current problems are probably centered around some process control issue in manufacturing the springs. Once they solve that, and they will, watch out!

  11. JimB Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Kenseth has had four races taken away from him already this year. Two were just racing deals when he got collected in wrecks by NASCAR’s supposedly two best drivers. The other two were engine failures when Matt was leading and dominating a race. This could be the greatest year ever for Kenseth, but not if he has to suffer an engine failure half of the times he has the dominant car. With these continuing engine issues, Matt will be lucky to win 5 races this year. TRD does not have the incentive to learn more about race engine building, I says. Maybe if JGR could get a money back guarantee on these engines, Toyota would pay more attention to what they are delivering.

  12. Keith Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Nascar should ban TRD from building engines for all its teams. Never in the history of the sport or at least recently did a manufacture build engines or cars for their teams. They supply parts and technical support but the teams build them or lease them from another team.
    You seen what happened when JGR had an illegal engine built from and outside source they cried like babies saying it was not their fault it was someone elses fault and since it was built by a manufacture they got their fines reduced but since Carl long had the same agreement with another team he got put out of business.

  13. Richard Allen Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    TRD has announced they will have new engine parts in Pocono.

  14. Richard Allen Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Also, TRD president Lee White has announced his retirement.