Charlotte Media Tour: Day one

It was an action packed day on the Lowe's Motor Speedway/NASCAR media tour in Concord, North Carolina. First on the agenda was a trip the NASCAR Research and Development Center where NASCAR unveiled several things they've been keeping up their ...

It was an action packed day on the Lowe's Motor Speedway/NASCAR media tour in Concord, North Carolina. First on the agenda was a trip the NASCAR Research and Development Center where NASCAR unveiled several things they've been keeping up their sleeve.

. Toyota will join Dodge, Chevy and Ford in the NASCAR Cup and Busch series in 2007

. The Car of Tomorrow is here, today and will be competition ready for 16 races in 2007, 26 races in 2008 and the whole shebang in 2009

. The 2006 NASCAR Drive for Diversity program participants were introduced. Eight ethnic and gender diverse drivers were chosen from a group of 300 applicants to participate in this years program

Between very well-produced announcements, NASCAR CEO/Chairman Brian France, also took the time to address the 2007 schedule and possible changes to race dates.

"No big changes that we can see," said France. "There may be some adjustments. We know that NASCAR's success is in the longevity of historically important events."

He also said that while the Nextel Cup series has no plans to race outside of America anytime soon, they were exploring the possibility of taking one of their other racing series to Canada sometime in the future.

After festivities wrapped up at the R&D Center it was a quick jaunt down the road to Roush Racing to visit with their five Cup, 2 Busch and 2 Truck racers.

"We're real excited about 2006," said owner Jack Roush. "2005 was by a large, large margin the best year I've ever had in this business. I wouldn't trade any of the years that preceded it."

Roush was also thrilled that he managed to convince Mark Martin to stick around for another season. Martin's encore performance on the 'Salute to You' tour is something the ready-retiree is actually looking forward too.

"I made a promise to myself that I would lighten up this year, and have some fun," said Martin.

Teammates Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards all agreed that they hoped they could mirror the years they had in 2005, making some tweaks here and there to gain better performance during the last ten races if they are fortunate enough to make the Chase for the Championship in 2006.

"We need to get better at Martinsville and be more cautious at Talladega," said Biffle. "We just need to finish better those last 10 races. We hope this year that we have the same kind of year we had last year."

Roush Rookie Jamie McMurray was also ready to get racing, "I feel like I am with the best team in the sport right now and I am ready to get all this media stuff out of the way and go racing."

In addition to the five Cup rides, Roush will field two Busch cars piloted by Todd Kleuver and Danny O'Quinn as well as two Truck teams driven by Erik Darnell and David Regan.

Regan will split his ride with Martin, who is planning on running a handful of Truck and Busch events in addition to his full time commitment in the Cup series.

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , David Ragan , Danny O'Quinn , Mark Martin