It’s not won in Cup competition, but Toyota got a win in the next best thing, the Busch Series on Saturday, with Jason Leffler outracing Greg Biffle to the checkered flag in the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. David Reutimann, also in a Toyota, finished third.
In Cup competition, Toyota has had a difficult year, particularly with the Michael Waltrip-owned team for which Reutimann drives. Toyota drivers, including past Daytona 500 winner Waltrip and former Cup champion Dale Jarrett have failed to qualify. Toyota teams have not been a threat.
The O’Reilly win, however, suggests that Toyota is beginning to iron out some of the problems. Of course, the Busch series races are shorter and the introduction of the “Car of Tomorrow” in Nextel Cup competition means that Busch cars are less similar to Cup cars than in the past. Toyota’s experience in Craftman Truck competition, where it has won the championship, is more directly transferable to Busch competition than it is to Cup race cars.
Nonetheless, Toyota may be justified in a bit of cautious optimism about its future in both series.