NASCAR may be an American pastime, but many different automakers will compete at NASCAR races to show off who has the best cars. In NASCAR’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series, which races pickup trucks, the Toyota Tundra has dominated. Here’s why.
NASCAR is a stock car racing organization, and that applies to its pickup truck racing series too. This means that much of the design of the pickups are largely the same. However, one area where Toyota is allowed to make some changes are in its engine, and the Tundra packs a lot of power for its races.
Currently, the Tundra is outfitted with a NASCAR approved spec engine. It’s a 6.0-liter V8 that generates over 600-hp. NASCAR does have a 200 MPH speed limit for its truck racing series, so top speed doesn’t matter too much.
Other trucks by automakers, like Ford and Chevy, also carry a similar engine, however, that hasn’t allowed them to beat the Tundra often. In fact, after Toyota joined in 2004, Toyota was the manufacturer’s champion 10 times, which is the most of any other automaker.
Between 2006 and 2010, Toyota won that coveted prize every year. Chevy won the next two years but then, between 2013 and 2017, Toyota won five straight years again.
The total dominance of the Toyota Tundra in NASCAR
A truck without its driver is just a truck. In NASCAR, both are important ingredients for success. It’s no surprise then that the Tundra is driven by some of the most talented people in racing today. Kyle Busch has been racing for Toyota for many years now, and he’s also competed in NASCAR’s truck series.
There, Busch would set a record for winning the most truck races ever, at 56 career wins. Busch comes from a racing family, and he used his knowledge and skill to clinch those wins for Toyota. Although he’s never been a champion of the season in the NASCAR truck series, his wins helped Toyota win the manufacturer’s championships.
But, with that said, Busch wasn’t the only person driving a Tundra for Toyota. Many others did just that. However, what Busch did do, other than win so many times, was when he formed his own racing team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, or KBM.
As a team, KBM has won the most owner’s championships in the NASCAR truck series with six wins. That’s not the only benefit that Toyota got from Busch’s KBM and similar teams, however.
A star-studded team
Not only did Busch create a winning team, but he also created a vital piece of infrastructure that bridged the gap between drivers, their trucks, and Toyota. What KBM actually does, other than recruiting and representing drivers, is that it helps those drivers learn how to drive in a Tundra. It also helps Toyota’s research and development team to learn what to do differently with new models of the truck.
For example, a rookie by the name of Harrison Burton might not be climbing the ranks as fast as he is if he didn’t join KBM and learn the Tundra early on. KBM isn’t the only team that drives a Tundra in the NASCAR truck series, though.
Hattori Racing Enterprises, which is a Japanese and American racing team, also fields the Tundra, and it also has had some great success at the NASCAR truck series.
Austin Hill, who recently won a race in Las Vegas in his Tundra, races for Hattori Racing Enterprises. It’s true, he’s not as young as Burton is. But it’s talent like these men that show why the Tundra is dominating in the NASCAR truck series. By cultivating young talent and teaching them how to drive a Tundra, Toyota’s been able to continue to break records in NASCAR with its great truck.