NASCAR holding Toyota back on purpose

One Top 10 finish. Through nine races this season, the closest Toyota has come to Victory Lane in NASCAR’s top tier is 10th place. Only two other times has a Toyota driver finished in spots 10 through 20.

Of the seven cars that Toyota teams field, an average of four make the race. And these aren’t teams and drivers with little experience. We’re talking a proven team in Bill Davis Racing, former Cup Champion Dale Jarrett, veterans Brian Vickers, Jeremy Mayfield and two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, who has only run in one race all season.

Dale Jarrett and Dave Blaney represent the top point totals among Toyota drivers — 37th and 38th, respectively, among the full Nextel Cup points standings.

Why is the gap between the American manufacturers and Toyota so large? Could it be that NASCAR is the culprit?

History has shown that NASCAR has had no problem helping manufacturers become more competitive through rule changes. For example, all three American manufacturers have changed body types. Chevy went from the Monte Carlo to the Lumina, back to the Monte Carlo, and then to the current Impala. Ford shifted from the Thunderbird to the Taurus to the Fusion. Dodge, which made its way back into the sport after a hiatus, has gone from the Intrepid to the Charger.

After these body changes and a few races, NASCAR allowed adjustments in order to close the gap of competitiveness with front-end and spoiler modifications.

So, here we are, nine races into the season, and it is clear that Toyota is at a competitive disadvantage, and it doesn’t look like there is a change in sight. Why not help Toyota get to the front. Shouldn’t NASCAR want that? Don’t the fans deserve that?

NASCAR has done a tremendous job growing the sport to global levels. They’ve only helped themselves by adding Toyota to the mix. Now they can help themselves even more by helping them succeed. NASCAR should do itself a favor and throw Toyota a bone, and for Tony Stewart’s sake hope it doesn’t land on the track.

[Editor's Note: Well of course they are holding Toyota back. NASCAR's xenophobic fan base won't stand for Toyota coming into Nextel Cup on day 1 and trouncing the opposition like they are now doing in the truck series. NASCAR also doesn't want to drive Ford out of the series. They and Dodge are getting their butts kicked by Chevy this year, and having Toyota do the same would be just too much for these money-losing manufacturers. Then there is this Yahoo Sports article suggesting the problem is with the Toyota leadership. What a Yahoo. Toyota is dominating the NASCAR truck series, so if the issue was with the Toyota leadership they would be getting their tails kick there too. Some NASCAR writers wear such rose-colored glasses they never believe NASCAR would ever be up to no-good. Tony Stewart and the rest of the NASCAR drivers won't agree with him, but what do they know.]

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