HOMESTEAD, Fla – There’s no reason to believe that Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota won’t be hoisting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy on Sunday evening in South Florida. Since the Championship 4 format was adopted in 2014, the Ford EcoBoost 400 race winner has been won by one of the Championship 4 drivers each and every year. Why would this year be any different?
So, might as well pick the team that has won the most lately – Joe Gibbs Racing/Toyota.
Toyota has won three of the last six races at the Homestead-Miami Speedway anyways. Then, they’ve won 18 of the 35 races run this season including five of the nine in the postseason.
Makes sense for the best team on the 1.5-mile track and the best team on the season would win Sunday’s race too right?
Plus, they have three of the four drivers vying for the title as well.
If a Toyota driver can win the championship, it would be their second in the last three years and third in the last five overall. That’s an amazing feat. Plus, it’s a sign that this isn’t your grandpa’s NASCAR anymore.
NASCAR has always been an American sport. From American drivers, driving American vehicles while racing on American tracks with predominately American fans in the grandstands has been NASCAR’s grassroots.
That’s why when Toyota came into NASCAR’s premiere series in 2007, it was met with some resistance. They struggled in year No. 1 with zero trips to victory lane, but that’s where everything changed. Toyota lured JGR over and it’s been all out dominance ever since.
Toyota won 10 times in 2008 and that kick started them into prominence. But, their most success has happened since NASCAR adopted the Championship 4 format.
Both Toyota and Chevrolet has won two championships apiece since 2014 while Ford has taken the other, but if you go for all out wins over the last five seasons, no one can touch Toyota.
The Toyota teams have won 78 races since 2014 compared to 68 by Chevrolet and 68 from Ford. But, 76 of those wins have come since 2015 though. Toyota won 16 races in 2015 and again in 2016, followed by 13 last year and 17 more this season.
They’ve two of the last four championships and eyeing their third in the last five years on Sunday afternoon.
They’ve won all the big races this season too. They went 1-2-3 in the Daytona 500. They won the Coca-Cola 600, the Bristol Night Race and the Southern 500. A championship is all that’s missing.