NASCAR Squeezes Horsepower Down on Toyota Motors

July 23, 2008 10:25:25 AM PDT
NASCAR tried to even out the competition in the Nationwide Series on Wednesday by ordering all teams using Toyota motors to squeeze down their horsepower before this weekend's race in Indianapolis. Toyota has won 14 of 21 races this season in the Nationwide Series, and all but one of them came in a Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing. The exception was JGR driver Kyle Busch's victory at Charlotte in May in a car fielded by Braun Racing.

NASCAR ordered all the Toyota motors to use a smaller restrictor that will knock down 15 horsepower in the motors.

NASCAR recently sent 10 different motors for testing, and found that David Reutimann's Toyota was the best with an estimated 3 percent horsepower advantage over the competition. JGR's No. 18 car - which Busch drove to victory at Chicago right before the motors were tested - was second.

Roush Fenway Racing's Nos. 16 and 17 Fords were next, followed by JGR's No. 20 car, which has won nine races with four different drivers this season.

JGR builds its own motors for its two Nationwide Series cars. The rest of the Toyota engines in that series and the Craftsman Truck Series come from Triad Racing Development, a Bill Davis-owned company that leases engines.

Toyota president Lee White did not immediately return a call for comment.

Technically, the new guidelines aren't directed solely at Toyota. But because the automaker is working with a brand new engine and has access to the latest technology, Toyota teams have gained an advantage over the manufacturers using older engine models.

If the other manufacturers should reach the stage Toyota is currently at, they would be subject to the horsepower guidelines NASCAR mandated Wednesday.

Chevrolet has been pushing to use its new engine in the Nationwide Series, and many believe that model is on par with the Toyota motors.