NASCAR Fans Sneer at Toyota

Japanese automaker's success comes as American firms are in slump
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 9:51 AM CDT
Kyle Busch leads in his No. 51 Toyota truck as pole-sitter Mike Skinner, left, and eventual winner Johnny Benson (red car) give chase early in the NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway July 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In an effort to curry favor with millions of American NASCAR fans, Toyota joined the league’s top circuit 2 years ago, but fans aren’t warming to the Japanese automaker, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many fans felt betrayed last year when champion racer Kyle Busch traded in his Chevy on a Toyota, and he's been met with boos and a barrage of beer cans after recent victories.

Toyota’s racing success comes as the Big Three—the choice of NASCAR fans—are hurting, and it’s poised to become the No. 1 carmaker in the US. And some fans don’t like that. League research shows that half of them think Toyota is good for the sport, while 6% think it’s harmful. "The problem with this sport," Busch tells the Journal, " is people don't really like to give you the benefit of the doubt."