It may die down or it may heat up, but with Sprint Cup testing now completed there’s muttering from other manufacturers about how fast Toyotas were at Daytona.
“I know they’ve done their homework, but something is not feeling right to me,” Ford team owner Doug Yates told the Winston-Salem Journal.
“Something they’re doing is not level with what the rest of us are doing. We’ve got to figure it out, and we will.”
When the new Cup race car was first used on a restrictor-plate track last year at Talladega, NASCAR allowed a slightly larger opening in the plate that led to more horsepower to propel the bigger, heavier cars. That led to higher RPM, and even though NASCAR will likely change the gear rule before Speedweeks to back those RPM down it’s still a different package than teams dealt with using the old car in plate races.
Toyota says the only advantage it may have now came from recognizing how different the new package would be and going to work on maximizing that.
“We saw Talladega as an opportunity,” said Lee White, the general manager for Toyota Racing Development. “We started working on Talladega with a group of focused engineers in June and that race was in October.
“We saw that there was no point in further investment in that style of restrictor-plate engine, because it was going away. We saw it as an opportunity to focus on a new package for that race. That is why that group of engineers focused on this package six months before Talladega. That explains the gap, I think.
“It was six months of hard work and effort focusing on one race. It wasn't about Talladega. It was about the Daytona 500.”