The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fed-Ex 400 benefitting Autism Speaks race this past weekend highlighted the huge problems that Toyota Racing Development continues to face in this 2013 NASCAR race season. Before even half of the race had passed two of the top contenders in the field for the win, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr., had been taken out of the running when their Toyota engines blew up.
This issue has been a huge problem not only this season but also in years past where blown engines have plagued drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, both championship contenders in their own rite. The engine deficiency of Toyota has marred the reputation of the brand in the sport, especially after both Kenseth and Busch blew motors in the first and biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500.
This week, TRD came under new interim leadership after President Lee White announced his retirement due to family health issues. This new leadership has begun tweaking the Toyota Sprint Cup engines to allow for more reliability on the race track in the long haul. However, they have acknowledged that this may lead to a decrease in performance by the engines. This solution could be a double edged sword to the Toyota teams of NASCAR.
Some Toyota drivers this weekend such as Hamlin will need as much performance as possible. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver needs a good finish and will be starting back in 18th. Of course, on the other hand, a running race car in 10th is better than one sitting in the garage at the end of the event. Expect to see some change in the Toyota cars this weekend; the question will be how much this change effects the racing prowess of the cars?