By admin | September 16, 2013
By Richard Allen
Toyota entered the Sprint Cup Series back in 2007 and has had considerable success as the manufacturer has scored 61 victories in NASCAR’s top division. But even with all those race wins, there have been no championships to speak for the Japanese based company at the highest level.
But Toyota certainly has to be considered a favorite to take the title in 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch entered the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff as the top-two seeds after piling up five and four wins respectively during the first 26 races of the season.
And on Sunday afternoon/night, the JGR teammates finished 1-2 at the Chicagoland Speedway in the initial Chase race to solidify their positions at the top of the standings.
Granted, it’s very early in the going to concede the Sprint Cup title to any one driver or manufacturer. However, a deeper look into past results and the upcoming schedule adds further proof that these two drivers are well positioned to settle the championship between themselves for Toyota.
So far in 2013, Kenseth and Busch have won six of the seven races held on 1.5 mile tracks. Only Kevin Harvick’s victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte prevented a complete sweep on those type tracks by the JGR duo. And a look at the rest of the schedule reveals a heavy load of the so-called ‘cookie cutters’ as four more races will be held on those tracks.
Of course, five time champion Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team can never be counted out of title contention. He has posted four wins this season, but two of those came on the restrictor plate track in Daytona and one at Pocono. There is only one plate track in the Chase(Talladega) while no track in the playoff is remotely similar to Pocono.
Obviously, no driver is out of contention yet. But some are better suited to make a run at the championship than others.
For now, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch appear to be the early favorites in this year’s Chase so far. And that makes Toyota a favorite to capture its first Sprint Cup title as well.
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