Daytona: Toyota preview

Toyota Gears Up For Daytona And Nascar Goody's Dash Opener DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5,2002) - Toyota's NASCAR Goody's Dash program begins its third year this week as four Toyota Celica's gear up for the season-opening Daytona USA 150 on...

Toyota Gears Up For Daytona And Nascar Goody's Dash Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5,2002) - Toyota's NASCAR Goody's Dash program begins its third year this week as four Toyota Celica's gear up for the season-opening Daytona USA 150 on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Daytona International Speedway.

Led by four-time Goody's Dash champion Robert Huffman, the Toyota program looks to improve on its impressive 2001 results. Huffman finished third overall last season, his first in a Toyota Celica, and he was tied for the series lead with four victories.

"I'm really excited to get started this season," said Huffman, who is tied for second in all-time Goody's Dash career victories. "We did really well last year, wen though it was a learning year with the White House Apple Juice Celica. I think we'll be even more consistent this season, win some races and earn points towards a championship."

He will be joined this season by 1997 NASCAR Goody's Dash champion Mike Swaim Jr., who will be piloting a Celica for the returning Weaver Racing team. He rejoins the Goody's Dash series after a successful three-year stint racing in the ARCA Supercar Series. Swaim Jr., whose father Mike Swairn Sr. won the Dash title in 1984 and '85, had a thriving throe-year stint in Goody's Dash from 1995-97. He earned the Busch Pole Award (five poles) and Gatorade Front Runner Award in '97; and he has claimed 12 career victories and 14 poles, including three straight at Daytona.

"Coming back to the Goody's Dash series in a Celica is really exciting," said Swairn, who will also be racing in the Craftsman Truck series at Daytona this year. "Jerry Weaver has a lot of experience in the series, and I really love racing at Daytona. Having raced larger stock cars, the Dash cars are tougher in some ways with the shorter wheel base and lighter weight."

The 2002 Goody's Dash season will mark the debut of two new Celica entries. The Germain Automotive team will be switching to a Celica with Scott Krehling behind the wheel. He has run partial seasons in the Dash series with the Germain team since 1998.

Tim Nichols, racing a Celica for Highland Motorsports, looks to improve on his impressive third-place finish last year in the Daytona opener. He finished the season in a points tie for Goody's Dash rookie-of-the-year in 2001.

Qualifying for the NASCAR Goody's Dash opener at Daytona will be on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 3 pm. ET, and the 60-lap Daytona U.S.A. 150 will be on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. ET, following Winston Cup qualifying. The race will be broadcast on the Speed Channel, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

Toyota made its debut in the NASCAR Goody's Dash series at Daytona in 2000. The 27-year-old series is part of the NASCAR ladder system, designed to help promote and develop driver's skills at tracks as varied as Daytona, Charlotte and Bristol. Originally called "Baby Grands," Goody's Dash cars resemble a scaled-down version of a Winston Cup car, and each is equipped with a V6 powerplant.

-tm/gt-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Robert Huffman