FOR NOW, TOYOTA IS
THE TOAST OF THE TOWN
Since joining NASCAR’s top series in 2007,
Toyota has steadily chipped away at the once
enormous advantage held by rival automakers
Chevrolet and Ford. Finally, in 2015, Toyota won its
first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title with driver Kyle
Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team.
But if you thought the Japanese manufacturer’s
success might dwindle a bit after claiming
NASCAR’s top prize, think again. Toyota came out
of the gate swinging in 2016 when Denny Hamlin
delivered the automaker’s first Daytona 500 victory,
and the fun was just beginning.
Five Toyota drivers – Hamlin, Busch, Carl Edwards,
Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. – each went to
Victory Lane no fewer than two times apiece. Thanks
to Hamlin (Daytona 500), Busch (Brickyard 400) and
Truex (Coca-Cola 600 and Bojangles’ Southern 500)
Toyota drivers swept all four or NASCAR’s so-called
“crown jewel” races on the way to capturing the
manufacturers’ championship for Toyota.
Clearly, Furniture Row Racing’s offseason switch
from Chevrolet to Toyota and the team’s new alliance
with Joe Gibbs Racing were a win-win for all parties.
16 LESSONS LEARNED