Chevrolet has been the best manufacturer in NASCAR for the past two decades but Toyota could be looking to break up their domination. In the modern era of NASCAR, racing is defined by three different manufacturers: Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Ford has been around since the beginnings of the sport and continues to provide rides for some of the best drivers on the planet but Chevrolet has been the overwhelming lead dog in terms of success.
They are the runaway leader with 39 total Manufacturer Championships and their current streak of 13 in a row is the longest in the history of NASCAR.
One of the main reasons why this is the case is because of the high-intensity drivers that Chevy currently supports. The list includes:
Jeff Gordon (Chase Elliott in 2016)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
These drivers combine for many wins each season and continue to operate as some of the faces of the sport.
While all of this leads to success for Chevy, there could be a new manufacturer that shakes things up in the future. Toyota has been in the Sprint Cup Series for nearly a decade now and they also field some pretty incredible drivers like:
Kyle Busch (2015 Champion)
Martin Truex Jr.
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As you can see, the Manufacturers Championship basically comes down to a battle between Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) and Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota). These two teams make up the majority of the field for each major manufacturer and they are accompanied by a few other drivers that help their case, like Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
Hendrick Motorsports clinched another title this season by edging out JGR by one win. The rise of JGR in 2015 provided hope for the future and a Sprint Cup title also fueled the fire just a little bit.
One reason to believe Toyota could be a future Manufacturers Champion is because of the state of HMS and JGR. They are not necessarily going in opposite directions but JGR is trending upwards just a little bit faster than HMS is. JGR has four proven drivers on their team and four drivers who will be in contention to win the title for years to come.
HMS, on the other hand, just lost one of their best drivers in Jeff Gordon and will feature a rookie in Chase Elliott next season. While they have some unbelievable talent on their team, Kasey Kahne certainly does not look like a contender and Chase Elliott is at least a few years away since he will take a little time to get used to racing with the best of the best.
That leaves Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the sole contenders at HMS and though that isn’t a bad thing, JGR seems to have more drivers actively contending.
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What it will come down to is how much help Chevy gets from drivers like Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, but as it stands right now, Toyota looks like they are in position to potentially end the reign of Chevy and win their first Manufacturers Championship in the next few seasons.