• Feb 16th 2007 at 8:25AM
  • 64

For those who haven't heard, NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500 race this weekend has been marred by controversy from the rookie Toyota camp. On Sunday, Michael Waltrip had his No. 55 Toyota confiscated by NASCAR officials after inspectors found an odorless, Vaseline-like substance in the car's engine. Later in the week, NASCAR handed down punishment to Michael Waltrip Racing, which included the ejection of team vice president of competition Bobby Kennedy and Crew Chief David Hyder from the garage at Daytona. Hyder was also fined $100,000, the largest fine ever handed down by NASCAR. Waltrip himself was penalized with a loss of 100 drivers points and his qualifying time from pole day on Feb. 11th was thrown out. Elizabeth Waltrip, Michael's wife and the official owner of his car, was also docked 100 owners points.

Thanks for the tip, John!

[Source: ESPN.com]

Michael Waltrip considered dropping out of the Daytona 500 amid the controversy, but urgings of support from his family, his manufacturer Toyota, his primary sponsor NADA, and even NASCAR president Mike Helton, changed his mind. Yesterday brought a brief highpoint for Waltrip, as he and the other two Toyota teams he owns all qualified successfully for the big race on Sunday.

Having won twice at Daytona in the past, it's almost silly to think that Waltrip would've needed any illegal assistance to do well, which was proven when he finished eighth in qualifying yesterday. And for those decrying Toyota's involvement in the most popular American motorsport, the controversy surrounding Michael Waltrip and his team provides no additional ammo, as the illegal activity appears to be the work of individuals within MWR, which is now performing an internal investigation to find out the Who and Why of it all. For his part, Waltrip has consistently presented himself to the press as genuinely devestated over the illegal activity carried out by members of his team. Say what you will about Toyota and its participation in NASCAR, but Waltrip is an icon in the sport and has many, many fans. Hopefully this week's event won't dominate his legacy completely, but we all know how difficult it is to shake off the effects of a scandal in motorsports.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I heard Waltrip got weepy at his press conference. I'd cry too if i had to drive a Camry in a race
      • 8 Years Ago
      wow, your headline is just a tad misleading there. just a tad though. you made it seem like it's all toyota's doing and that they were also fined.

      this, coupled with the glowing review of the 2008 ford c-max (see post a bit back), has really started to make me think you guys love to kiss some domestic arse...example:

      "The new C-MAX will be ditching its drab Focus flavored styling in favor of Ford's "kinetic design" philosophy, taking cues from the aforementioned Mondeo and S-MAX. The new front face draws heavily from the family tree, with sharper lines, creases and a more aerodynamic profile that seems to be missing with most MPVs, both here and abroad."

      i mean, come on, even the old Mazda MPV looked better than this!
      • 8 Years Ago


      Toyota continues to dumb itself down to seek the approval of whom?

      ‘cause we all no dat Jim-Bob an’ his wife (sister) Sue-Ellen would rather push der Chevy than drive one of doze der Japoneese VeHICKles. After all, millions of doze people flocking to dat Toyody brand can't be buyin' dem 'cause der purdy, everyone I knows says der down right ugly! So what's so good about dem folks and der Camories anyways?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Who cares. NASCAR is mindless soap opera drivel with nap inducing roundy round drone, in cars that only the average NASCAR spectator with their average 8 teeth left in their mouths could equate to any manufacturer at all. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday! What a joke, how could people be so dumb. Lets hear it for decal look alike grills and lights!
      • 8 Years Ago
      You're cruel #24! But you're right on the money. I'm trying not to, but yes I am laughing. In case you were wondering, it's called "meth mouth".
      • 8 Years Ago
      I thought his primary sponsor is NAPA, not NADA?
      • 8 Years Ago
      As stated above, I'm not a fan of nascar so I can't believe I'm doing this but here it goes. These drivers have considerable talent. Especially when dealing with the commandants of nascar and their obsession with parity.

      It's easy to be an arm chair expert. Joe, you've gone 160mph in a sraight line on a highway, wow. You actually think this equates to an oval track at 175mph with "other" cars inches from you in every direction? I love how guys like you are always looking for an excuse to brag about your road warrior exploits. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you've probably worked long and hard to afford such an expensive car. You probably have some middle age balding of your own going on.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No not a good way to start it out, plus I think it hurts thier image. It sounds like somebody else did it though.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Well thanks to 4. for demonstrating the typical hick metality that characterizes nascar. Diz is our cuntreh, git out to-yo-dah!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Look how successful he was in bringing Toyota and his sponsor to every media outlet there is and everyone talking about it so I have to think alot of it is intentional because he knows Nascar won't punish him that bad and all eyes are on him, even though he is far from a star (4 wins in 22 years, pretty pathetic) he accomplished something for Toyota also pretty pathetic.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How much pressure are the people at Toyota putting on these guys to win? I know Toyota is very fierce when it comes to trying to dominate a segment they want to be #1. Or was someone trying to make an impression to Toyota and just went a little too far in trying to please the big cheese(s) at Toyota.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Word in Daytona this morning is that sabotage is suspected. It looks like this was an act performed specifically to harm MW and more importantly Toyota. Stay tuned.
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