TRD tweaks engines for speed's sake

Updated: June 14, 2013, 12:54 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- A week after decreasing power in favor of durability, Toyota Racing Development is adjusting engines on some of the six Sprint Cup cars it supplies to recapture speed.

Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin, who needs to win races to become a Chase contender after missing four races with a back injury, in particular will get more power.

"Hamlin will be a little more full blown," Jimmy Makar, vice president for race operations at JGR, told ESPN.com on Friday.

Hamlin, 25th in the standings and 76 points out of the top 20 necessary to be a wild-card contender, finished eighth last weekend at Pocono. He was frustrated by the lack of power, as were several other Toyota drivers after none of the cars with TRD engines led a lap.

"It was a tough day," Hamlin said. "All of us [Toyota drivers] had to play defense on the straightaway, which is really tough, but I made the best of it.

"It's about where I thought we would end up, but we need wins, and we're going to have to be aggressive and do everything we can to do that."

TRD, which builds engines for JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing, took a more conservative path with its engines at Pocono after blowing two engines the week before at Dover and three in two weeks.

Makar said it was the right decision, noting Kyle Busch (sixth) and Hamlin (eighth) had top-10s and none of the six JGR or MWR cars lost engines.

"I wouldn't say it's something that harnessed us too bad," Makar said. "I don't know that anybody had anything for [winner] Jimmie Johnson. But you've got to finish races first and foremost."

MWR will stay with last week's engine package on the cars of Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., but Mark Martin's No. 55 will be "all out," according to crew chief Rodney Childers.

Makar said JGR will use several packages between Busch, Hamlin and Matt Kenseth in an attempt to find the right mix before the Chase.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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