David Wilson: Toyota's eight Cup wins in 2020 "unacceptable"
Even with Denny Hamlin’s stellar season and changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota’s NASCAR boss offered a harsh assessment of the manufacturer’s 2020 season in the Cup Series.
“I’m more focused on the losses than the wins and I hate to say it but we’re sitting on eight wins in 31 starts this year and that’s unacceptable; that’s ridiculous,” said David Wilson, President of Toyota Racing Development USA.
“We’re better than that. We should be sitting on somewhere between 13 and 15 right now. But it’s a tough sport and we’ve got some incredible teams that we’re competing with and we can never think that we’re that much better than anybody else out there, because we’re not.
“That’s what so fun about it.”
Setting a high bar
Wilson's grim assessment may seem surprising considering Toyota provides support to only six fulltime teams each week in the Cup series with races that feature anywhere between 36 and 40 entries.
But Wilson said the manufacturer sets a high bar for itself every year.
While Hamlin has had his second straight impressive season – he picked up win No. 7 last weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway – only one other driver Toyota driver has won in the Cup series this season. Martin Truex Jr. scored a victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in June.
Reigning series champion and Toyota driver Kyle Busch remains winless this season and in danger of being eliminated from this season’s playoffs in Sunday’s cutoff race at the Charlotte Roval.
Toyota drivers Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez all failed to advance to the playoffs this season and have not won a race.
Asked to further explain why he considers this season’s performance “unacceptable” and “ridiculous,” Wilson said: “I think we’ve by and large not executed like we are capable of executing. I can count easily five losses on one hand that should have been wins, just this year and I’m sure there are more than that.
“Some of them are like Las Vegas – where it’s the last stage, all the cars up front typically pick one strategy and there’s always a couple that aren’t capable of winning that just hang on to see what happens. So, we’ve lost a couple that way.
“We’ve lost too many because of a loose wheel on the last pit stop of the third stage, missteps or mistakes on our part. This isn’t directed at any single team or driver. Those are the things that are unacceptable because we hold ourselves to the highest of standard – and it’s every part of the organization, every part on that car.”
Wilson said every team this season has had to face the same change in operating conditions with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a manufacturer, we haven’t done as good a job as the Ford guys in particular, and that’s on me,” he said. “This (weekend format changes) isn’t going away anytime soon.
“We are on it and we’re going to the next five races expecting to win out. And that’s not arrogance. We should win every one of these next five races. The next round – Kansas, Texas, Martinsville – I think we were two out of three in the earlier races this year.
“That’s just me speaking plainly.”
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