By admin | August 16, 2009
By Richard Allen
Years ago when the Japanese auto makers began to become a serious threat to U.S. manufacturers, it was fuel mileage that drew many American consumers to those cars. On Sunday at the Michigan International Speedway it was fuel mileage that allowed a Toyota to score a win in the backyards of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.
With empty seats around the track, exemplifying the struggling economy in an area so dependant on the auto industry, Brian Vickers and his Red Bull team gave the Japanese auto giant its first MIS win.
Perhaps no win short of a Daytona 500 could prove more satisfying to Toyota. Maybe even the ‘Great American Race’ would not even feel as good behind the closed doors of the Toyota company.
After a lap 157 caution numerous cars came to pit road to top of their fuel tanks. However, Vickers, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and others opted to stay out and hold on to track position. It would take outstanding fuel mileage for those drivers to make it to the end.
The Chevrolet of Johnson, who dominated the race, ran out of fuel with just over two laps to go. The Toyota of Vickers was able to go the extra two laps and win the race to the finish.
Recently, it was announced that the Toyota Camry had become the #1 selling vehicle. Now, after having taking that prize from the U.S. companies, Toyota has taken yet another prize from Detroit.
This was the first Sprint Cup win for Team Red Bull and the second career win for Brian Vickers. But the most important statistic at this track is that it was the first win for Toyota right under the noses of the American ‘Big 3’.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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