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'Not just the No. 11' – TRD president warns entire NASCAR grid amid Toyota's regained dominance in the Cup Series

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Half of the top 10 drivers in the standings drive Toyotas, finishing 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 10th, with Martin Truex Jr. at the front of the field. Initially it looked like Chevy had the upper hand: William Byron took the Daytona victory, Daniel Suarez took the checkered flag in Atlanta and Kyle Larson drove to victory in Las Vegas. But the game changed when Christopher Bell scored a win for Toyota in Phoenix. Things have been looking up for Toyota since this race. TRD President David Wilson even acknowledged the solid start to this season and tipped his hat to their impressive performance.⁣

Toyota is racing on the short routes and is hot on Chevy's heels

At the moment, Chevy is in the lead with four wins under their belt, but Toyota is breathing down their necks, just two points behind with three wins of their own. They seem to have made a lot of progress on the short tracks, thanks to Christopher Bell's win and five Toyota drivers finishing in the top 11 in Phoenix. Then Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin showed everyone how it's done in Bristol, with Hamlin crossing the finish line first. Afterwards, Truex Jr was also hot at Richmond, leading more than 200 laps until the #11 driver took the lead and emerged victorious.

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Toyota has been flexing its muscles all season long, leading lap times in every single one of the seven Cup Series races so far. And that's exactly what Toyota Racing Development's David Wilson claimed when he threw down the gauntlet and hinted that Toyota wants to take the top spot again this year.

He mentioned, “Certainly if we look at where we have been at this point in the season in previous years, and not to put too fine a point on it, we haven't had such a strong start since 2019. And 2019 was the year we won after that race and got another championship with Kyle Bush. There's still a lot of racing left to do, but you look at the performance and that's what I love. And I think one of the leading performance indicators is the final laps. And… a Toyota has led the lead lap in all seven NASCAR Cup races so far. We have strong cars across the board.”

However, many would agree with David Wilson, “It’s not just the 11 car or the 20 car. You know, every day you see a few Toyotas fighting up there.” Take Richmond last Sunday – a prime example of what Toyota is capable of. And it's not just David Wilson who is excited about Toyota's potential this year. NASCAR experts like GoPRNLive's Lee Spencer also suggest Toyota could be the team to beat in 2024.

A NASCAR insider says Chevy and Ford may be behind on the new short track setups

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Even with experienced short trackers like Kyle Larson and Joey Logano in their camps, Chevy and Ford just can't seem to get these short tracks under control. GoPRNLive's Lee Spencer weighed in, pointing out that even though Toyota may have had a slow start, Toyota's dominance with the new short track setup in Phoenix can't be ignored. “I wouldn’t discount Toyota’s chances this weekend, regardless of whether the race is named in their name or not.” he said.

Next up is Martinsville, another short track, and all eyes are on Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Hamlin has 36 starts, 25 top-10 finishes, 19 top-5 finishes and five wins, including top-5 finishes in his last three Martinsville races. Apparently he is a force to be reckoned with. Although his last win there was in 2015, he is still a hot favorite. Truex, on the other hand, finished in the top 10 16 times in 36 starts, with 10 top-five finishes and three wins. He secured third place in the last spring race and also took home the trophy in the 2021 spring race.

Toyota leaves its rivals behind after mastering the short track package en route to Richmond

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Also keep an eye on Christopher Bell from the Toyota team! He has already achieved one win and three top-10 finishes in eight starts. Bell won the 2022 fall race in Martinsville. Then there's Kyle Larson at the wheel of the Chevy, who has been a consistent performer at Martinsville with one win among his six top-10 finishes in 18 starts.

The scoreboard seems to be leaning in Toyota's favor, but what do you make of this battle of manufacturers?