The United States of America is not Formula 1. The heart of America is not found on soccer fields. Indeed, sushi is not an American staple. Chicken & ribs is more likely to be found on tables in Kansas tonight. American families could be watching their kids prepare for baseball season this spring and summer. And… America is NASCAR. Says who?
Says Toyota. Fortunately for Toyota, just days before a few dozen drivers attempt 500 miles of racing in Daytona, Denny Hamlin won one of the Gatorade Duels on Thursday. Tony Stewart, a fairly prototypical old-time American racer, finished second. Denny and Tony – them boys are Toyota boys.
True enough; these Gatorade Duels are just qualifying races. Toyota can’t take hold of the lead in the standings based on qualifying races like this. Points aren’t even handed out. However, it does put three Toyotas in the first three rows of the Daytona 500, significantly raising the massive Japanese automaker’s hopes on Sunday. This might not be news yet, but the news on Monday could be headlined by an ugly, V8-engined behemoth with a Toyota badge on the front. Backlash not mandatory, but possible. This is supposedly “The Great American Race”, after all.