Why Toyota Tundras Have Dominated the NASCAR Truck Series
Many different automakers compete at NASCAR races — some more successfully than others — to show off who has the best cars. In the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which races pickup trucks, the Toyota Tundra has dominated.
If anything, that’s selling the automaker short.
Since joining the Truck Series in 2004, Toyota has won over 200 races, captured nearly as many poles, and earned a staggering 13 manufacturer championships.
Toyota Tundra specifics in Truck Series competition
NASCAR is a stock car racing organization, and that applies to its pickup truck racing series, too. The designs of the pickups are largely the same as the ones available for purchase. However, Toyota is allowed to make some changes to its engine, and the Tundra accordingly packs a lot of power for its races.
Currently, the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is outfitted with a NASCAR-approved spec engine. The OEM Cast-Iron Block 90 degree V engine generates 650 horsepower, helping the 3,450-pound vehicle accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds flat. NASCAR does have a 200 mph speed limit in the Truck Series, so the top speed of 235 mph is limited by a restrictor plate.
Ford and Chevy trucks carry a similar engine, but that hasn’t allowed them to beat the Tundra often.
The total dominance of the Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Truck Series
A truck without its driver is just a truck, so it should come as no surprise that the Tundra has been and is driven by some of the most talented people in racing. Kyle Busch, for example, has been racing under the Toyota banner for many years, and he’s also competed in NASCAR’s Truck Series.
With 64 wins, the most recent coming at Pocono in July 2023, Busch is the all-time leader in Truck Series victories, 13 clear of Ron Hornaday Jr. and the rest of the field. He comes from a racing family, and he’s used his knowledge and skill to clinch those wins for Toyota. Although he’s never been a season-long champion, his wins have helped Toyota win their 13 manufacturer’s championships.
That number is where Toyota has truly shined:
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Toyota has engaged in a tight battle with Ford and Chevrolet during the 2023 calendar, but a strong stable of drivers has continued to boost the Tundra’s race-winning numbers.
With three wins, 12 top-5s, and 19 top-10s, Corey Heim sits atop the driver standings. Stewart Friesen, Tanner Gray, Taylor Gray, Tyler Ankrum, and Dean Thompson are also within the top 20, though each has failed to break through with a victory in any one race.
The Tundra has certainly helped them along the way.