Can Toyota Be Knocked Off The Top?
Autosport|February 15,2018

A new Chevrolet has raised hopes that Toyota’s ‘F1-style’ domination of NASCAR can be halted in 2018.

Tom Errington

Back-to-back manufacturer titles, accusations of an unlimited budget, and what was described as ‘Formula 1 domination’ – Toyota took a decisive stranglehold on the NASCAR Cup series in 2017 as it ruffled feathers on and off the track.Having committed to a new Camry for road-car production in the US for 2018, Toyota surprised its NASCAR rivals by bringing a racing version to the series in ’17 after a year in which Chevrolet and Ford had slowly crept up to its benchmark pace. It looked like that pattern could continue, with a low-key start to ‘17 for Toyota, which won just twice in the first 11 races.

But by the end of the 2017 season it was in a league of its own. The final-four showdown at Homestead was a straight fight between two Toyota stars: Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch in his Joe Gibbs Racing Camry. In truth, Ford’s Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski were there to make up the numbers, hoping for a stroke of luck that never came. Keselowski was the one to compare Toyota to F1, and Busch’s Ford-driving older brother Kurt told Autosport that Toyota “played possum” until the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May. There’s some merit to Busch Sr’s words: Toyota won 14 of the final 25 races, with eight victories coming in the 10 playoff races.

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