Toyotas are sandbagging (Update)

Steve O'Donnell played the teams like a fiddle
Steve O'Donnell played the teams like a fiddle

UPDATE NASCAR never had any intention of taking cars back to the R&D Center to assess how each manufacturer stacks up.

"We actually found it kind of comical this weekend because we put a little bit of the rumor out there and candidly, it worked," said NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell on Monday morning during his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio appearance. "If anyone would have done some serious research, the wind tunnel that we would use for this is under construction this week, so it would have been impossible."

"We had a strong suspicion that those guys would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition," Keselowski said. "And potentially that's right because our team hasn't done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as they've been the last few weeks."

"The bottom line was we feel comfortable with how we review the cars," O'Donnell continued. "We have a process in place but we're not going to telegraph when we would do that at a certain racetrack. We always want to make sure that we have the best information possible – particularly on the aerodynamics of the cars. So, we'll continue to do that."

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski

08/12/17 BROOKLYN, Mich. — Brad Keselowski is doing his best to play NASCAR politics and has fueled a battle of words ahead of the Cup race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

Keselowski, who will start on the pole in his Ford, has accused the Toyota teams of potentially not bringing their best equipment this weekend, and of having incentive to "kind of tune it down" so that NASCAR wouldn't think about changing any rules for manufacturer parity.

That didn't sit well with the Toyota drivers.

Kyle Busch, who has a long-running rivalry with Keselowski, was in no mood to discuss those comments after finishing a frustrating third in the truck race Saturday at Michigan.

"Brad's a [expletive] moron," Busch said. "We don't just turn it down. We actually have a new engine package here this week. He's a moron."

Keselowski made his comments after qualifying, where Toyota had four cars in the top 10, led by Matt Kenseth in fourth and Busch sixth. Toyotas have led 88 percent of the laps in the last three oval races.

"We've seen the last two or three weeks that the Toyota cars are pretty dominant," Keselowski said. "We had a strong suspicion that those guys would kind of tune it down this weekend, so [as] not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition, and potentially that's right because our team hasn't done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as they've been the last few weeks."

NASCAR typically takes several cars after this race, the last at an aerodynamic-dependent track prior to the playoffs, to test them and to see if any rules needed to be changed for the playoffs to ensure manufacturer parity.

Keselowski might not have convinced NASCAR of such sandbagging, but he showed that either the Toyota drivers are in his head, or he is in their heads.

Busch's teammate, Denny Hamlin, tweeted a response to Keselowski:

Martin Truex Jr., who leads the series with four wins this year, tweeted a response with no words:

In final practice Saturday, Keselowski was the fastest, with Truex second followed by the Fords of Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, and then Busch.

"We came into the weekend thinking that some of those really strong cars would tune it down and knowing that we probably were pretty close to what we had the last few weeks," Keselowski said Friday. "I'm not sure if that's what happened [in qualifying], but it kind of looks that way at the moment, but we'll still take what we can get." ESPN

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