Toyota Cars Ready To Roll In NASCAR’s Nextel Cup 2007 Season
Toyota cars and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) made an announcement to confirm Toyota’s expansion into the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Of the various Toyota cars, the Camry model was the chosen automobile for participating in a field of competition.
After three years of Toyota competing as part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France commented, “Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series is good for drivers, teams and the fans. This move provides for even more intense competition on the track between drivers and manufacturers, which will provide more excitement and fan interest,” he continued. “Toyota’s entry also provides more options for drivers and teams, which will increase the competition between manufacturers.
The 2007 year will mark several milestones for Toyota cars, including the company’s 50th anniversary in America. As the golden anniversary occurs, so will Toyota’s venture into the NASCAR Nextel and Busch series racing. While Toyota drivers and teams have proven to be championship competitors and winners in other series, the manufacturer anxiously awaits to see if the Toyota cars will enjoy the same fate as they branch out into new NASCAR territory. “If you want to compete against the best, in America that means NASCAR,” admits Dave Illingworth, senior vice president, chief planning and administrative officer for Toyota Motor Sales, USA., Inc.
A separate announcement, made in late January 2006, detailed the three teams that would be competing behind the wheel of Toyota cars. Bill Davis Racing, Team Red Bull and Michael Waltrip Racing will be the teams sporting the Toyota Camry as the 2007 season kicks off at the Daytona 500 next February. According to TMS corporate manager of marketing communications Kim McCullough, “The response to Toyota’s involvement in the Craftsman Truck Series has been very positive, and we look forward to building on the acceptance at the next levels - in both Nextel Cup and Busch racing.”
Michael Waltrip, who owns one of the teams to be operating Toyota cars next season, is a Daytona 500 winner times two. Nearly 10 years ago, he formed a race team that was primarily known for it’s involvement in the Busch Series. In recent years, however, the team began participating in the Nextel Cup Series on a limited basis and plans to compete regularly during the 2007 season. In fact, plans for ‘Waltrip Racing World’ was announced that would feature a high-tech race shop boasting over 125,000 square-feet of race shop space, buildings and housing.
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