Yep, the first foreign manufacturer ever in NASCAR history. When the Toyota Tundra’s take to Daytona International Speedway next February, it will be history. And by 2006, Toyota will be competing for the Winston Cup Manufacturer’s championship (assuming it’s still the Winston Cup). Everybody seems to be up in arms about it. Foreign manufacturer? It must be a cold day in hell. My opinion? I’m in heaven.
No, I don’t exclusively support foreign manufacturers nor have I turned my back on the great nation of the United States. I am just excited about a new manufacturer entering NASCAR. I don’t have any ties to any make exclusively. I do not root for Chevy’s or Fords, not even Pontiac nor Dodge. But a fifth manufacturer would be interesting. I wonder who will go to Toyota, how many Ford teams, Chevy teams, Dodge teams, and Pontiac teams will turn. Will there be a new team backed solely by Toyota, such as Evernham Motorsports and Dodge? Or will established teams like Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, or Roush Racing switch makes?
After entering in 2001, Dodge has gone from 10 teams at the beginning of 200 to 14 at the beginning of 2003. While a couple from it’s original line up has disappeared (Melling, the #44 Petty), More have joined. Such teams as Penske, BAM, and Ultra Motorsports have switched to Dodge. The Dodge effort has grown to be the largest stable in Winston Cup right now.
Let’s not forget the first team to have any connection to Toyota: Bill Davis Racing. This team put it’s neck on the line to help Toyota, and they have been cut off by Dodge. I remember racking my brain a couple of weeks ago trying to figure out who I thought would join Toyota, and I kept coming back to BDR. While this whole problem seems like it’s Dodge having a problem with BDR, don’t forget that Davis is a savvy businessman who may have dropped Dodge. Perhaps Toyota will give BDR money to pay for Dodge parts and wind tunnel time. Then, Davis will have his cake and eat it too-his team will drive Dodges until Toyota arrives, and he doesn’t go broke doing it. He also gets to help out Toyota in it’s quest to enter NASCAR.
I can’t wait until the arrival of Toyota. It will get more money flowing, the competition will become greater, and it may open up some more teams. If only America, car makes, NASCAR fans, team owners, crew members, and drivers were as excited as I am.