LONG POND, Pa. Toyota Racing Development has had the kind of success most manufacturers would love to boast about in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage.
Five wins and eight poles in the first 13 races should have TRD riding high. Instead, a few high-profile engine failures has drivers frustrated and TRD looking for answers in time for Sunday's event at Pocono Raceway.
So it was time for a team meeting.
David Wilson, named this week acting president and general manager of TRD, called drivers, crew chiefs and competition directors from Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing together on Friday morning to discuss the changes ahead and plans to boost the engine's durability.
That started with fine-tuning engines already in the cars headed to Pocono.
"It means it's going to be a little bit of a step back in performance," Wilson said. "Just getting them on board and being transparent with them has been helpful. The last thing we want is for them not to feel like a part of this."
TRD is struggling with durability, beginning with the Daytona 500 when Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch suffered engine failures within minutes of each other. Most recently, Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. both suffered engine failures in last Sunday's race at Dover.
Wilson said the key was to keep the season in perspective. Even if six failures have been unacceptable, there are enough checkered flags piling up to prove TRD has a grasp on handling its engines.
"Our drivers love the performance they're getting with the cars," Wilson said.
Rain washed out qualifying for the Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway, so the field will be set by owner points. Jimmie Johnson will start Sunday's Party in the Poconos 400 on the pole.
IndyCar Sebastian Saavedra says he was surprised "big time" by the $30,000 fine he got from IndyCar for his obscene gesture.
Saavedra said he knew he would get a penalty for flashing both of his middle fingers at Marco Andretti after the two made contact last weekend in Detroit. But Saavedra was mad when he heard the amount of the fine.
Drivers Simona De Silvestro, Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier were penalized for making unapproved engine changes before the minimum mileage threshold of 2,000 miles.
Each was imposed a 10-grid spot penalty for the start of today's Firestone 550 in Forth Worth, Texas, for changes made since last weekend's doubleheader races in Detroit.
Penske driver Will Power will start the Firestone 550 on the pole after a four-lap qualifying average of 219.298 mph.
Camping World Truck Series Jeb Burton raced to his first career NASCAR Truck Series victory, holding off a hard-charging Ty Dillon at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Burton, 20, led the final 25 laps.