Toyota will need new driver development options in the NASCAR Truck Series next season, and the NASCAR Cup Series teams can provide the solution.
It was an eventful weekend for Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as the automaker finished thirteenth. NASCAR Truck Series Manufacturer Championship while sending drivers Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes and Chandler Smith to Championship 4.
But at the same time, one of the manufacturer’s best drivers this season, John Hunter Nemeczyk, has been disqualified from competing for the truck series title before. Fill For Bubba Wallace commented 23XI Racing in the Cup Series.
That wild weekend has continued for the past two months for Toyota. The company suffered a huge blow to the driver development program when Kyle Bush signed with Richard Childress Racing (RCR)which prompted his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team to switch to Chevrolet.
Current KBM drivers Nemechek and Corey Heim will remain with Toyota, and therefore need to find new rides.
Busch has been the face of Toyota’s driver development for many years. His KBM team offered competitive rounds to young talents while giving them the opportunity to compete against Bosch himself in select events.
KBM acted as a feed system for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), giving drivers like Christopher Bell and Erik Jones their first chances on the NASCAR National Tour series before getting their chance to be promoted under Toyota’s race program.
Bosch has also appeared with young talent in Toyota TV commercials in recent years, passing the keys to a Toyota Supra after making donuts at the start and finish line and where he spotted drivers trying to break into a secure garage. Toyota NASCAR truck.
Without Busch, Toyota is missing out on a proven driver feed system whose ability to win at every level can appeal to young drivers deciding the next step in their racing career.
In the weeks following the announcement of Bosch, Toyota Other drivers lostwith Brandon Jones moving from JGR to JR Motorsports and Smith moving from KBM to Kaulig Racing for the Xfinity Series 2023 season. Even if they had no connection, those two hits were extra.
KBM wasn’t the only competitive team to feature Toyotas in the truck series this season, with ThorSport Racing, Hattori Racing Enterprises and Halmar Friesen Racing also helping the company win the title of 13th manufacturer in 19 seasons of Toyota Tundra operated in the series. . .
But these teams are still different from KBM. They feature a mix of veterans and younger drivers, but they don’t tend to have drivers rise the ranks as quickly as the KBM does. While these teams will still be making big numbers for Toyota next season, the KBM switch feels like more than just three rounds are leaving the brand.
Toyota will also look for additional seats for Nemechek and Heim, which may not be available with other Toyota teams if drivers such as Rhodes, Majeski and Christian Eckes return to their current riding.
With Toyota looking for seats and Joe Gibbs Racing looking for a new link in its feed system, a better solution might be to expand the truck series for either JGR or its ally, 23XI Racing.
While it will come at an additional cost for these Trophy Series teams, expanding into the Truck Series is a realistic option for both sides, as building a competitive operation in a short period of time will be cheaper than it would have been for teams to build existing Toyota Racing Development (TRD) programs. ) Additional resources along the way.
Making such an investment now would be worth it in the long run, and re-establish their robust feeding system before losing more drivers to competing manufacturers.
Toyota has Wealth of drivers At the lower ranks, including ARCA and USAC, there will still be options to fill out a new team in the coming years, even if someone like Nemechek is going to move to JGR’s Xfinity Series.
JGR and 23XI Racing can also use Cup Series drivers to help fill the role Busch leaves behind. Denny Hamlin can run select races in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series to help sell sponsorships and provide the presence of a successful Cup Series rider once again.
Tyler Reddick would also be a good driver to make a starting pick for the two-time Xfinity Series Champion and as a recent example of the driver switching to Toyota. He is set to join 23XI Racing next season after a breakout year with RCR and Chevrolet.
The expansion of JGR or 23XI Racing into the truck series, along with the emergence of Hamlin and Riddick, should give Toyota more credibility in the truck series and possibly make the company more attractive to drivers who might otherwise choose a KBM team installed on Toyota rides.
Toyota is in the midst of a driver development crisis after a domino effect to get the Bosch Cup series moving, and JGR or 23XI Racing should consider a rescue.