Nascar Weekly News and Notes (12/27/07)

Nascar Weekly News and Notes
by Virginia Vroom of

A new year, a new hope…at least that’s Toyota’s agenda. With such amiserable
season in its opening year, Toyota has high hopes for the 2008 season. In
my own humble opinion, I think that Toyota chose a pretty bad year to start
in the Cup series to begin with.

The expectations were set high with all of the success in the truck series. We see wins all the time and would expect nothing less. But then again, the truck series did not see a season split with two different cars, start up teams, and other numerous inconsistencies nothing short of normal for NASCAR. Anyway, it was just a bad choice. How did Toyota expect drivers to be able to work on two different cars (the now “old” car and the COT or I guess it’s the car of today now)? With all of the technical changes that were being made at the time, it was simply not a good choice.

Venturing into a deal with Michael Waltrip may not have been the best decision either. Being dumped from DEI led Waltrip to start his own team in the Cup series, with a less than spectacular season to say the least. The beginning of the season led to a blown out of proportion scandal tied to Waltrip’s entire team and the new Toyotas. It’s kind of difficult to work on a car and tune it for races when it’s banned from a track, Michael.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Michael Waltrip, but maybe a more established team would’ve been able to better prepare Toyota for its entrance into the Cup series.

Speaking of more established teams, how is Gibbs for ya? Joe Gibbs is making the switch from Chevy to Toyota for the ’08 season. In my eyes, this should be a true determination of the ability of the cars. With an established team, winning drivers, and a bit more consistency predicted for 2008, Toyota should have a better opportunity to show its guns.

Maybe Michael and his team will have some better luck too. We’ve seen Michael
hand over the reins and divide out some responsibility to a few more people.
This should help him tremendously. It’s difficult to be trying to make races
in a new car with a new team in a completely new template than anyone is
used to and expect to be competitive. As an owner and full-time driver,
Michael had too much on his plate and he knew it.

I am looking forward to seeing some competition from Toyota this season. If it’s anything like the truck series, we’ll have a great bunch of teams and cars up there racing. Under equal conditions, I think that Toyota has just as much a shot at a win as any other make out there. It’s less and less about make of the car and more and more about the talent and also the money that a team has. Just ask Tony. I bet he’d say the same thing.

52 days until Daytona!!