By now you’ve heard the story, even if you don’t follow the series on a scrutinizing level: Toyota’s Tundras are unbeatable in the Camping World Truck Series.
The manufacturer has been on point in 2014 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, setting a blazing pace in the season’s first 10 races. So far, Toyota is 10 for 10 in race wins, losing only if you somehow count poles or heat races at Eldora — which, why would you?
It’s an interesting statistic and run for the manufacturer. Why is Toyota creaming the field? It’s not like it’s an instance where the vast majority of the field is running Toyotas; for this weekend’s Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway, out of 32 trucks currently entered, 10 are Toyotas. Meanwhile, 18 — twice as many — come from the Chevrolet camp, with the pair of Fords from the Brad Keselowski camp.
Part of that’s due to who’s driving for them. Two of the Toyota trucks are fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports, which has been a formidable force of epic proportions in 2014, winning eight of 10 races between the Nos. 51 and 54 and drivers Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace, Jr.
Further, Busch’s two teams are joined by a three-team attack from ThorSport Racing, which has won the other two races in 2014 with Matt Crafton and fields competitive entries for Johnny Sauter and Jeb Burton. Two more come from Red Horse Racing — Timothy Peters and German Quiroga, two of the series’ better organizations of Truck Series-exclusive regulars.
But here’s the thing about the current Camping World Truck Series: it’s really not that much different from last year’s lineup. That said, Toyota’s dominance was quite lessened in 2013 — though it did still win 13 out of 22 races. But that season, Chevrolet and Ford were able to compete to some degree, the former with eight wins and the latter with one.
Still, Toyota only strung together four straight wins last year at the most — a sterling number by most standards that pales in comparison to 2014. In fact, Toyota’s current win streak actually sits at 12, considering the manufacturer’s two wins to finish off 2013.
In fact, it’s now the longest streak in the history of the series — both in terms of starting off the year and in terms of an overall streak, counting races from the previous year.
To find a time when a given manufacturer even approached Toyota’s dominance, one must reach all the way back to 2001, when Dodge scored wins in each of the first eight races of the season with drivers Bobby Hamilton, Scott Riggs, Ted Musgrave and Joe Ruttman.
Prior to then, Chevrolet kicked off the entire Truck Series with some astonishing dominance, winning the first eight races of the inaugural season of 1995. Interestingly, two of the players then — Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Ken Schrader — still race in the series. Mike Skinner also added wins for Chevrolet in that span, enroute to the first championship in the series history.
The crazy thing is that eight races — or even five or six — is a fairly important feat in racing when there are multiple manufacturers capable of victory. Toyota’s 10 to start the year and 12 overall is simply spellbinding in comparison.
It’s far removed from the days when it seemed like anyone and everyone had a chance at victory. In the early- to mid-2000s — 2001 notwithstanding — manufacturers struggled more with rounding off big streaks. In fact, in 2004, the longest streak for any manufacturer was two. It helped that there were four makes — Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota — fielding competitive teams at the time, but even now with three such makes, a 10-race streak is something to behold.
Oh, and as an addendum: the Truck Series, while the starkest example, isn’t the only series with a major streak in 2014. Chevrolet won five straight in the Sprint Cup Series earlier this year — all, naturally, by Hendrick Motorsports.
So what you’re looking at at this point in the Truck Series is history already having been made, with each win just another peg on the tally. Next up: most wins in a season for a given manufacturer.