Toyota extends involvement

"TOYOTA USAC NIGHT BEFORE THE 500" HIGHLIGHTS EXPANDED TOYOTA USAC MIDGET SERIES INVOLVEMENT IN 2007 TORRANCE, Calif. (March 20, 2007) - After a successful first season of USAC involvement in 2006, Toyota's USAC program will expand in ...

"TOYOTA USAC NIGHT BEFORE THE 500" HIGHLIGHTS EXPANDED TOYOTA USAC MIDGET SERIES INVOLVEMENT IN 2007

TORRANCE, Calif. (March 20, 2007) - After a successful first season of USAC involvement in 2006, Toyota's USAC program will expand in 2007, highlighted by its title sponsorship of the prestigious "Toyota USAC Night Before the 500" at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP) in Indianapolis, May 26.

The race, held yearly prior to the Indianapolis 500, will be a part of the successful Toyota Challenge that debuted a year ago. The Toyota USAC Night Before the 500 joins the All-State Lighting 100 presented by Toyota at Thunder Hill Raceway on April 7, and the Toyota USAC Racing Classic at ORP on June 16, as part of the three-event "championship within a championship" that will award a $25,000 prize fund. Included in the prize fund will be a $15,000 award to the Toyota Challenge champion. Keith Kunz Motorsports won the inaugural Toyota Challenge last season.

"Toyota is thrilled to add the title sponsorship for the Toyota USAC Night Before the 500 and have the event incorporated as a part of this year's Toyota Challenge," said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. "We're happy to be a part of such a huge racing weekend in Indianapolis. O'Reilly Raceway Park is undoubtedly one of the finest facilities of its kind in America and Thunder Hill Raceway is just 45 miles away from Toyota's new manufacturing plant in San Antonio and has tremendous potential. It should be a terrific Toyota Challenge schedule."

Toyota also will continue two other initiatives begun during the 2006 campaign. The manufacturer will offer a unique year-end owner's bonus fund that can total up to $25,000 to recognize and support entrant participation. At the end of the season, the top-10 point standings USAC National Midget Series team owners will receive $100 for every event entered in the 2006 schedule.

The Toyota-sponsored year-end bonus fund is intended to reward the series' teams who participate in the majority of the USAC National Midget Racing Series, regardless of what chassis or engine they have selected for competition.

For the second consecutive season, the USAC National Midget Racing Series also will be a part of Toyota Motorsports/TRD, U.S.A Contingency Awards Program that is designed to reward exemplary performance. Toyota- powered USAC National Midget Racing teams must submit required claim forms and display proper TRD logo stickers as outlined in the program guidelines. The payouts will include $1,000 to the highest finishing Toyota-powered USAC Midget per A Main national event and $500 to the second highest finishing Toyota. USAC Western Midget series drivers will earn $500 and $250 per event as the highest-placing Toyota finishers. The program excludes participants from 9 Racing.

"Toyota is committed to bolstering the financial reward for all USAC Midget Series team owners and drivers," said Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. "Strong teams foster a high-level of competition and greater success for everyone involved in the series."

New for 2007, TRD will be involved with the National Midget Driver of the Year award. The award recognizes the nation's top midget driver using a unique point system based on several factors including car count, purse and event prestige.

"USAC is extremely pleased that Toyota is supporting USAC Midget Racing again this year," said Rollie Helmling, USAC President and CEO. "Toyota has illustrated its strong desire to support what may be America's most exciting racing series. The continuation of last year's programs and new additions certainly illustrates Toyota's interest in enhancing the sport and all of its participants."

-credit: usac/toyota

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