Toyota just did what Ford did last year. No, they didn’t design a hybrid car with a clever name of “EcoBoost” to be involved in it.
During NASCAR Contenders Live on Thursday afternoon, Toyota announced something that NASCAR fans have been expecting for quite a while: Kyle Busch and Rutledge Wood helped unveil the new 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra.
— Toyota Racing (@toyotaracing) September 12, 2013
The truck is very different from the current form of the Tundra. Toyota’s original truck back in 2004 wasn’t expected to do well in NASCAR. Let’s face it, a foreign manufacturer coming into an All-American sport, who would think they would do well?
Guess what? Since 2004, Toyota has won three Camping World Truck Series championships, five straight manufacturer titles (2006-2010), a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship (Kyle Busch with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2009), three straight manufacturer titles (2008-2010) and plenty of wins in all three major series.
The new Tundra will have a larger grille, wider fenders, a flatter hood and most importantly, a similarity to the street version truck. The truck will also be without the splitter braces, something that NASCAR fans have dreaded to see over the past few years. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had splitter braces when they first introduced the Car of Tomorrow, but fans and teams disliked it, so they got rid of them.
However, Toyota might have made a mistake. There are only three manufacturers in NASCAR (Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota). It’s hard to get a competitive advantage when the cars and trucks are so similar to each other with an equal amount of cars in each manufacturer. We saw Ford unveil their Generation Six car earlier than the other two manufacturers, and look what happened to them.
Hopefully for Toyota, they won’t fall behind like Ford did. Ford lost a ton of down force simply because they didn’t spend more time attempting to make their car perfect before they submitted the final design to NASCAR. Expect to see Ford and Chevrolet unveil their new truck designs within the coming weeks.
Also, the front and rear bumpers should be different to prevent the tandem draft which NASCAR fans have dreaded over the last few seasons.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.