The last weekend, Kyle Bush was eliminated from the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Bristol Motor Speedway after suffering an engine failure.
Needless to say, Toyota is really feeling the weight of costing Busch an opportunity at another championship.
David Wilson, the president of Toyota Racing Development, said NBC sports that it was “the worst nightmare imaginable for me personally and for our team”, saying:
“We cost Kyle Busch a chance at his third championship.”
This isn’t the first time he’s suffered from an engine failure this year, as Busch retired from Darlington a couple of weeks ago for the same reason on the opening lap. Twice in three weeks for the two-time champion? Pretty ridiculous.
Wilson assured that ahead of Sunday’s playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway, modifications were made to the Toyota engines to ensure nothing like this happens again:
“We are not giving up our performance potential. We think it’s conservative enough to somehow get us out of that danger zone.”
With Busch retired, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell are the only two Toyota drivers to race in the championship.
“Whether we’re lucky enough to possibly win a championship later this year with Christopher or Denny, I’m still haunted by what happened, not only at Bristol but also at Darlington. Two engine failures over three weeks is unknown. It’s unacceptable.”
Wilson also explained what happened to Busch in Darlington and Bristol:
“We have some sort of instability in our valve train and it interestingly seems to be triggered by going into NASCAR’s mandated rev limiter.
He hit the rev limiter hard, and a lap and a half later his engine died. Well, just to be clear, our stuff should be durable enough. It should be tough enough to deal with.
At Bristol, NASCAR miscalculated the gear ratio. It was too short. As Kyle, especially when driving in the top groove in fifth gear, he hit the rev limiter almost every lap. The fact is we just don’t have enough durability margin in our valve train at the moment. That’s on us.”
Wilson admitted that recent adjustments to their rules for engines have raised some issues.
And of course there is the conspiracy that Toyota gave Busch weaker engines because they knew he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for Richard Childress Racing next season, but Wilson denied the rumours:
“I would say it’s insulting as a professional and someone who takes their responsibilities as seriously as I do.
And I say to the fans who are actually ignorant enough to suggest that this is some sort of mastermind plot to rid us of Kyle Busch early on, I’d just say go back to trying to edge the flat earth to find. It’s absurd.”
He also noted that he and Busch had spoken after his decision to leave Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We both underscored our intent to have a mic drop moment in Phoenix where he will win his third championship and he will take that championship with him.
Obviously losing Kyle in a championship run is a massive setback for Toyota. Kyle Busch is money in the playoffs. … By losing him, we suffer a great blow. There are zero benefits. There are zero benefits. It’s just a crushing blow to our organization.
I can not do anything about that. I apologized to Kyle. I apologized to (Joe) Gibbs. That’s on us and hated that we let them down.”
As much as you love to hate Kyle Busch at times, it sucks that he’s not making a deep run in the playoffs.
If you love NASCAR and racing in general, you want to see the sport’s best drivers in the finals, and Kyle is definitely one of them.
The first race of the Cup Series Round of 12 begins this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/09/22/toyota-president-of-racing-development-takes-blame-for-ending-kyle-buschs-season/ Toyota President Of Racing Development Takes Blame For Ending Kyle Busch’s Season