By admin | July 5, 2013
By Richard Allen
Kyle Busch claimed the pole position for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway to lead a Toyota contingent that took five of the top-7 spots in the starting lineup for the mid-summer classic. But despite that success for the foreign auto maker, the driver of the #18 car says that on tracks other than the big restrictor plate venues, the Toyota Racing Development engines have been detuned.
Toyota teams have had a number of engine issues throughout the 2013 season. Dating back to the first race of the year when Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch blew motors almost simultaneously while running near the front of the pack. From that point, there have been other occasions in which the Toyota teams of JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing have had fallen out of races due to engine issues.
As detailed in this piece, Toyota teams have seen failures on virtually every type of track. Also, penalties were assessed to Kenseth’s team following his win in Kansas for what can be described as nothing more than a careless mistake during the assembly process.
After the Sprint Cup race in Dover, DE back in early June in which even more engine failures occurred, major changes took place within TRD. Company president Lee White resigned and the supplier announced that they would have new engine parts in place for the next week’s race in Pocono.
Pointing out that engines prepared for Daytona and Talladega are different from those used at all other tracks, Busch said that TRD believes it worked through the plate track troubles already. But they still have concerns over the other tracks which require higher RPMs than those which employ the horsepower robbing plates.
”This is a speedway race so it’s different,” Busch told Speed TV reporter Ralph Sheheen after his pole qualifying run. “It’s a different engine package. We had to do some work on some of the things that failed here in February, and they did a good job of being able to isolate those issues and make it better for us in Talladega then they could turn it back up a little for here.
“The week to week issues, the open stuff, that’s still the same issues,” Busch continued. ”There’s a couple of ‘em running full song and a couple of ‘em dialed back a little trying to focus on sorting out all the issues. But those guys are doing a good job. They’re working hard and making good power so far today.”
It is noteworthy to mention that no major Toyota team was listed as dropping out of the race due to engine trouble at Talladega. And, Kenseth led 142 laps of that race on the Alabama track. It’s also noteworthy that no contending Toyota has listed engine failure as a reason for falling out of any race since Pocono.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the engines are all tuned “full out” on the tracks that do not require restrictor plates.
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