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Toyota drives a dagger in American hearts with Michigan win

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.

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Toyota drives a dagger in American hearts with Michigan win”

  1. Larry Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 3:27 am

    Sorry to inform you, but, the Camry has been the number #1 selling car for years. I think what you mean’t to write was Toyota is the #1 Car Company surpassing GM. Anyway, I am disappointed in Toyota even being in cup racing. I know, you can tell me all you want about how they are made in the USA but the fact is it’s a Japanese Company. You know the ones we fought in WWII and lost many thousands of lives to. And, ultimately the profits go back to Japan. So, everyone needs to keep supporting them. What it this, three out of four of the last races at Michigan have been won on fuel mileage and not by the fastest car. Doesn’t sound like much racing to me.

  2. Richard Allen Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 5:45 am

    You are correct that the Camry has been the # 1 car for a while now. The word I should have used, and have now corrected, is vehicle. The Camry surpassed the F-150 as the #1 selling vehicle.

  3. Marc Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 7:24 am

    I was car shopping at my local Ford dealership a couple of weeks ago. The Ford Fusion is assembled in Mexico. I was at my local Dodge dealership. The Charger is assembled in Canada. I was at my local Chevy dealership. The Impala, also assembled in Canada. The Toyota Camry(s) that are sold in the United States are built in Kentucky. I’d be upset if the “American” automakers employed American workers. However, since Toyota is the only automaker whose represented car is actually built here, I don’t mind when they win (except when it’s Kyle Busch…..What a spoiled child!!).

  4. Evan Walter Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Yes, Toyota is a Japanese company. But, what you failed to mention is that Chrysler is now an ITALIAN company. Of course, GM is now owned by the United States government. How pathetic.

  5. Charles Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Even though some American cans are made oversees, this is nothing new! Some of Fords engines in the 1970s for instance was made in Germany and some are today!
    In the early 70s Mazda built Ford Courier pickups in Japan and imported them here, that was before Ford had a big interest or ownership in Mazda!

    My main problem is Nascar not “evening it up” as far as the brands go, Sure Vickers won, but I still think Johnson would win without gas milieage!
    GM has been able to run rappant in Nascar to long! Just let another brand even start to win like Johnson or the Hendrick bunch and see what happens! They will let some of the other brands win and get a good result but not consistently!

    GM has great cars and teams, its Nascar fault for not promoting the “car fan” especially with more brands than ever in the modern era of the sport ! Nascar needs these companies in racing and sooner or later they will get the hint!

  6. Larry Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Marc, I agree that some of gm, fords, and dodges are made in those places but there are plenty of Toyotas being made out of this country too. Again, Toyota is a Japanese Company and ultimately most of their profits are going back there.

  7. chad Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    This is proof that anyone can have a blog, and a good reason why newspapers looked at resumes before allowing someone to write.

  8. Charles Says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    To Chad

    This is the reason they have blogs to get the facts straight after the bias media distorts the facts !