HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2003) Toyota announced today that it has reached agreements with Bang Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Innovative Motorsports Inc., and Waltrip Racing Inc. to campaign Toyota Tundra race trucks in the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The four teams will debut Tundra race trucks in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13, 2004. All four organizations will be new additions to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and will provide up to eight Toyota's to compete in the series.
Bang Racing is a new operation founded by Internet entrepreneur Alex Meshkin and Larry McReynolds, a former NASCAR crew chief and current FOX TV analyst. Bill Davis Racing currently fields teams in the NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Innovative Motorsports Inc., owned by George deBidart, currently operates a car in the NASCAR Busch Series. Waltrip Racing Inc. is a new team operated by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip, who is also a TV analyst with FOX.
In addition to running Tundra trucks in 2004, Davis will be assisting Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. in the construction of the Toyota Tundra race trucks and the building of the NASCAR-spec Tundra Racing V8 engines.
"We are extremely excited to be entering the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next year with these four quality teams, all of which will be significant new additions to the series," said Jim Aust, vice president of Motorsports at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. "Each of them brings a wealth of racing experience and knowledge that will be invaluable to our program."
Toyota announced its entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series last February at the Chicago Auto Show. The Toyota Tundra race-truck body and chassis were submitted to NASCAR in July, and the first track test was conducted in August at Caraway Speedway. TRD U.S.A. has designed and developed the Tundra Racing V8 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in its Costa Mesa, Calif., facility. The engine was unveiled on Nov. 5 at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Alex Meshkin, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Bang Racing:
"We are honored to be a partner with Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Entering NASCAR as the youngest NASCAR team owner has been a dream realized for me. At the age of 23, I have been given an incredible opportunity to help define history. Bang Racing intends to provide our sponsors with the most dynamic racing performance and fan interaction in 2004 and beyond. Our partnership with Toyota and their advanced motorsports engineering program gives us a leading edge as we enter next season. Toyota's unparalleled engineering assistance will distinguish itself on the track . . . and with our top tier racing professionals. . . Bang Racing is positioned to provide excellent racing performance and excitement for the fans."
Larry McReynolds, Vice President for Bang Racing:
"We know NASCAR is the toughest form of any type of motorsports out there. What I've seen Toyota accomplish in such a short time in the IRL Series and the support they have given those teams . . . There's no question that their intentions and goals are the same as they head toward the [NASCAR Craftsman] Truck Series in 2004."
Bill Davis, owner of Bill Davis Racing:
"We're really excited about the new Tundra truck program and being involved with Toyota. It will add a lot of interest and excitement to the Craftsman Truck Series. I'm also looking forward to working with Toyota and TRD on the technical partnership building the engines."
George deBidart, Owner of Innovative Motorsports Inc.:
"Today is a very exciting and gratifying day for our entire organization at Innovative Motorsports. Toyota has a very prestigious and successful racing heritage, and we are honored that they have chosen us to represent them. We look forward to doing our part both on and off the track to make this relationship a successful endeavor for all parties involved."
Darrell Waltrip, owner of Waltrip Racing Inc.:
"I'm really excited to be a part of one of the most exciting things to happen to NASCAR not just the Craftsman Truck Series in a long time. I was thrilled to have visited Irwindale Speedway in Los Angeles last weekend for the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in the capacity of Grand Marshall. I was extremely impressed to see first hand what Toyota did to help promote NASCAR's Touring Series."