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Every NASCAR Manufacturer’s Best and Worst Season

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It’s no secret that Ford has struggled to begin the 2024 NASCAR season, going the first nine races winless. Chevrolet and Toyota, meanwhile, have been off to one of the best starts to a season for each OEM. While every manufacturer goes through a rough season or dominates the field, some seasons stand out more than others, for better or worse. This is the best and worst season for each current manufacturer in NASCAR.

  • This list goes through the three current NASCAR manufacturers: Chevrolet, Toyota, and Ford
  • The manufacturer must have won both the driver’s and manufacturer’s championships, even if the OEM won the most races that year (Ex. Ford in 1997).
  • All of these seasons are from NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present).

Chevrolet Best: 2007

(Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The 2007 season was one of the dominant seasons for a manufacturer, as the bowtie brigade rolled through the competition. Chevrolet Impalas that year won 26 out of the 36 races, including 12 in a row from races 3 to 14. Hendrick Motorsports led the Chevys with 18 wins that year, 10 from Jimmie Johnson, who went on to win the championship. Chevrolet had four drivers finish in points, while seven of their drivers made the 12-man Chase. The bowties would cruise to the manufacturer’s championship while setting a record for most wins by a manufacturer in the modern era, capping off their best season in NASCAR.

Chevrolet Worst: 2018

Just a little over a decade after their best season, Chevrolet would endure their worst in the sport. The new 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 did not perform the way teams were hoping for, as the new Chevy model could only muster up four wins across the entire season, three coming from Chase Elliott.

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After winning the Daytona 500 with Austin Dillon, a Chevy would not see victory lane until Watkins Glen in August. Only five Chevrolet drivers made the playoffs that year, with zero reaching the final four or even the top five in points. Chase Elliott was the best Chevrolet driver that year, winning three races while being the only driver to eclipse 20 top 10s en route to a sixth-place points finish.

Chevy finished last in the manufacturer’s championship, nearly 100 points behind second-place Toyota en route to their worst year in the sport.

Toyota Best: 2019

The year following Chevrolet’s worst was Toyota’s best. Despite having only five cars at the time, the manufacturer put together one of the most impressive seasons in NASCAR history, as they won 19 of 36 races, all from Joe Gibbs Racing. Martin Truex Jr. led Toyota in wins with a season-high seven on the year. In fact, the top three drivers in wins all drove a Toyota Camry to victory lane (Truex with seven, Hamlin with six, and Kyle Busch with five). Toyota placed three drivers in the final four, as Kyle Busch would clinch his second Cup Series championship. Erik Jones took a win for Toyota as well, while Matt DiBenedetto nearly won the Bristol Night Race. With only five cars in the field, Toyota put together one of the most dominant seasons for a manufacturer in 2019.

Toyota Worst: 2007

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

2007 was the first year for Toyota in the sport, which to this day is still considered their worst. The Japanese manufacturer joined forces with Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing, and Team Red Bull, much to the dismay of many NASCAR fans. 2007 would be a huge learning curve for Toyota, as they would go winless in their inaugural season while finishing dead last in the manufacturer’s championship. No Toyota driver would compete the full season, with each driver having multiple DNQs, including 19 from flagship driver Michael Waltrip. While Toyota would go on to have success in 2008 with Joe Gibbs Racing, their debut season in the sport would be one to forget.

Ford Best: 2018

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Ford in 2018 was one of the biggest surprises in NASCAR. Despite having the oldest body style in the series compared to the new Camry and Camaro, the Blue Ovals put together a 19-win season, with Joey Logano winning his first championship. Kevin Harvick leads Ford in wins with eight on the year. Stewart-Haas Racing leads Ford teams with 12 wins, while Team Penske claimed the driver’s title with Logano. The Blue Ovals claimed their 16th manufacturer’s championship and tied their season-high number of wins with 19 in one of the most improbable runs for a manufacturer in NASCAR’s modern era.

Ford Worst: 2024

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

While this may be recency bias, there is no doubt that this has been one of the worst starts to a season for Ford in its NASCAR history. While seasons like 1979 stick out where Ford only won five races, they were able to find victory lane, unlike this year. Ryan Blaney remains the only Ford driver in the top 10 in points, while only four Blue Ovals are currently in the playoffs. Ford sits a distant 41 points behind Chevrolet in the manufacturer’s championship, as they make up the caboose among the three manufacturers. With 27 races left in the season, there is still plenty of time for the Blue Ovals to catch up to Chevy and Toyota before it is all said and done. And for all of the Ford fans out there, they struggled in 2022 and 2023 before going on to win the driver’s championship both years.

Which season do you think is the best and worst for each manufacturer? Which ones did we miss? Be sure to check out the rest of DailyDownforce.com for all of the latest storylines and fan discussions.

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