Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. announced today at the Chicago Auto Show its historic plans to begin participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004.
Toyota Tundra Trucks will make their racing debut at Daytona International Speedway in February 2004.
“Toyota is pleased to be making this exciting step into the professional ranks of NASCAR,” said Dave Illingworth, senior vice president at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.
“We look forward to the Tundra’s first race at Daytona. It will be a great opportunity to showcase our American-assembled full-size truck to the stock-car racing world.”
Toyota has assembled the full-size Toyota Tundra exclusively at its Princeton, Ind., plant since its debut in 1999. “Everyone at NASCAR is looking forward to Toyota’s participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Mike Helton, president of NASCAR.
“We feel their integrated approach to this Series is going to provide our drivers, teams, tracks and fans many benefits. There are many NASCAR fans working in Toyota facilities, manufacturing plants and dealerships throughout America. We know they’re thrilled at the prospect of a Toyota Tundra showing up in NASCAR Victory Lane in 2004” Beginning with the 2004 season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona, as many as six Toyota Tundra race trucks may be entered for competition. Team affiliations will not be determined until a later date.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. will design, develop, and build the Craftsman Truck Tundra V8 to NASCAR specifications in its Costa Mesa, Calif., facility.
Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series further extends the manufacturer’s rich auto-racing history. Toyota will be making its debut in the Indy Racing League this year on March 2 in the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Over the last 20 years, Toyota has won championships in a variety of high-level racing series including CART, IMSA, MTEG, SCORE, CORR, Pikes Peak, as well as NHRA import drag racing and various SCCA classes. Since 2000, Toyota has competed in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series. The V6-powered Toyota Celica’s victory at Kentucky in 2001 was the first by an overhead-cam, multi-valve engine in NASCAR history.
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