Toyota to enter series

Toyota Motor Sales announced that its long rumored entry into NASCAR'S top divisions was a reality. The Japanese based manufacturer confirmed that it is working to field its Tundra truck model for the 2004 Craftsman Truck Series. "Toyota is ...

Toyota Motor Sales announced that its long rumored entry into NASCAR'S top divisions was a reality.

The Japanese based manufacturer confirmed that it is working to field its Tundra truck model for the 2004 Craftsman Truck Series.

"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, USA. "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 is no stranger to the world of NASCAR. Since 2000 they have competed in the Goody's Dash Series, a NASCAR touring division that features smaller V6 motors.

Toyota hit victory lane for the first time at the Kentucky Speedway in 2001. A win that marked the first NASCAR victory for an overhead-cam, multi-valve engine.

There success has continued as most recently four time Series Champion Robert Huffman gave Toyota another victory at this years Dash event during Daytona Speed Weeks.

"Everyone at NASCAR is looking forward to Toyota's participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said NASCAR'S President Mike Helton.

Toyota Racing Development will head the advancement of the project at its Costa Mesa California facility.

They will develop and test a pushrod three hundred fifty eight cubic inch V8 engine and truck body style in accordance with NASCAR specifications.

Competitors are required to maintain a thirty four hundred pound vehicle with a one hundred twelve inch wheelbase.

NASCAR rules open it's competition to all manufactures that produce vehicles in the United States.

Toyota has produced its Tundra line in Princeton Indiana since 1999.

Toyota is not the first foreign-based manufacturer to compete in NASCAR.

The much-hailed return of Dodge to the Winston Cup Series in 2001 was guided by the corporation's parent company Daimler Chrysler. Daimler Chrysler is a multi-national company that is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

Ford Motor Company, who was instrumental in the development of the Truck Series, welcomed the new competitor.

" It's been well-known in the industry that they have been looking at the Craftsman Truck Series as a possible means to prepare for a Winston Cup effort. They certainly have been active looking for talent in the NASCAR garages already. We welcome the competition in NASCAR from any manufacturer. That's always been our approach when new competition comes into a series we participate in. We've competed against Toyota in other racing series, and we know how hard they compete as a manufacturer." Said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology.

The Craftsman Truck Series began official competition 1995 and currently fields three manufacturer models: Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram 1500.

-thomas chemris

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Helton , Robert Huffman
Teams Toyota Racing