Even with Speedweeks fading into memory, one continuous problem has transferred over to Phoenix International Raceway from Daytona. Toyota Racing Development had some of the best engines last year, but for 2013 there seems to be some major problems with the development of the engines that have been supplied to some of NASCAR‘s most prominent teams.
At the Daytona 500 Toyota lost four engines, a disastrous amount for any supplier. The restrictor plate engine is different from the one teams run at Phoenix, but there have already been two engine failures before the race even started.
The supplier, which provides engines for Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip Racing lost the engines of both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Hamlin’s valve springs let go after sixty-one laps of practice and as a result Busch’s team chose to change out the valve springs. While tuning was occurring the morning of the race, the engine on the number 18 car let go. It was determined that it was human error, but there is reason for uneasiness. Hamlin responded on Twitter with “Sigh…. Unreal” in response to hearing that Busch’s engine had let go during warm-up.
Ironically as the race went on, the engines proved their worth, as Hamlin fought from the back of the grid to a podium finish. Toyota ended the day losing no engines, despite the rear end gearing on Martin Truex Jr.’s car letting go early. Although a Toyota didn’t find its way into victory lane, this should be regarded as a victory.
Yet, drivers, teams, and engineers alike are questioning the durability of the motors. Next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the Toyota’s will need these problems figured out. With speeds breaking over 200 MPH and RPM’s dipping, this is a harder test on the reliability of an engine than the previous two tracks.
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