Huffman, Toyota ready for Daytona

Huffman Dashes For Another Win at Daytona Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 11, 2005) With four Dash Series wins at Daytona International Speedway, Robert Huffmans expectations are nothing short of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory at the...

Huffman Dashes For Another Win at Daytona

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 11, 2005) With four Dash Series wins at Daytona International Speedway, Robert Huffmans expectations are nothing short of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory at the 2.5-mile tri-oval in his No. 12 Toyota Tundra Darrell Waltrip Motorsports entry.

To go to Victory Lane at Daytona is indescribable no matter what division you are competing in, said Huffman. It took me a long time to win my first Dash race at Daytona. It seemed like I finished second a dozen times. I think we have just as good of shot at it as anybody with the No. 12 Toyota Tundra.

In the last NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Daytona, Huffmans efforts were derailed when a truck struck his No. 12 Toyota Tundra from behind after a caution occurred a quarter way through the 100-lap event.

We started eighth and we were running in the top-10 when a caution occurred, said Huffman. Everybody slowed down, but one truck, and that truck hit us in the back. We ended up being involved in the caution. There was nothing I could do. Its a new year and Im excited about my chances with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports.

As Darrell Waltrip envisioned a second full-time Toyota team, Huffman was a natural fit for his Craftsman Truck Series expansion project.

I'm thrilled to have Robert onboard with us, said Waltrip. Robert is a proven champion. He has five Dash Series championships to his credit. Robert and David (Reutimann) will compliment each other and they will learn from one another. Our program will be even more successful this season.

Last year, Huffman collected six top-10 finishes in his No. 12 Toyota Tundra. Overall, Toyota Motorsports collected four wins, five pole awards, 25 top-fives and 54 top-10s in their first year of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition.

I really didnt have any goals for myself last year because I really didnt know what to expect, said Huffman. This year my goal is to run in the top-five and top-10 consistently, to be in position to win races and have a shot at winning the championship. You hear people say that you dont have to think about the championship, but I think you have to start thinking about it at Daytona. You can do something really stupid and wind up 36th or you can be smart and end up in the top-five. It can help or hurt you in the long run.

Huffmans philosophy was essential in clinching five Dash Series championships. Branding his Dash Series car with the Toyota mark in 2001, the 42-time Dash Series winner delivered Toyota Motorsports their first-ever NASCAR championship in 2003 in a Toyota Celica.

It means a lot to me and my family to be associated with Toyota and the Tundra brand and also White House, who Ive had a long standing relationship for almost 10 years, said Huffman. Weve been fortunate to be a part of Toyotas natural progression into NASCAR. To deliver their first NASCAR championship meant a great deal to me personally and professionally. Im looking forward to racing for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports under the direction of team manager Bobby Kennedy and crew chief Glenn Funderburk.

As Huffman is readjusting to a new team, Funderburk is also adjusting to his role as crew chief for the first time in his career.

Im thankful for the opportunity team manager Bobby Kennedy has given to me, said Funderburk. Robert and I have already established a solid working relationship. He has an impressive racing past and I think we will continue to work well together.

I am excited about having Glenn as my crew chief, said Huffman. Weve been to a couple of tests and Glenn handled everything really well. He wasnt afraid to make changes and run through the program.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway kicks off Friday, February 18th. The 100-lap event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway will air live on SPEED Channel beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. MRN Radio will broadcast the event.

TOYOTA IN AMERICA

In 1957, Toyota established its first dealership in the United States in California. Since then, Toyota has grown its business, while remaining committed to investing in the communities in which it does business. Today, in addition to millions of annual philanthropic dollars, that commitment translates into manufacturing plants, sales and marketing operations, and research and design facilities throughout the United States, where Toyota directly employs more than 31,000.

Toyota has eight manufacturing plants in the United States, with tow more currently under construction in Texas and Tennessee. With a strong manufacturing presence in the country, it's no surprise that more than half the vehicles sold in the United States are built here - using many American-sourced parts. Since 1986, Toyota has built more than 11 million cars and trucks in the country. As one of the world's leading automakers, Toyota Motor Corporation offers a full range of models from mini-vehicles to sedans to large trucks.

For more information on Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., please visit www.toyota.com.

-toyota-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Robert Huffman , Bobby Kennedy