Tough Racing Luck Postpones Toyota's Daytona Debut

Eric Van Cleef remains optimistic about his chances in the 2000 NASCAR Goody's Dash season despite the early departure of his No.82 Redline Oil/TRD Toyota Celica team from the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway. A series of ...

Eric Van Cleef remains optimistic about his chances in the 2000 NASCAR Goody's Dash season despite the early departure of his No.82 Redline Oil/TRD Toyota Celica team from the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway. A series of unexpected mechanical problems struck the car late in the last practice session Thursday,immediately preceding the sole qualifying session.

The team worked furiously to repair the V6-powered Celica in time for the mandatory technical inspection before the two-lap qualifier. Van Cleef's time was 39th quickest in a field of 54 cars, but he was not fast enough to make the field of 37. NASCAR rules call for four provisional starting positions based on driver points from the preceding year; but, as Van Cleef had only run four races last year in preparation for making a run at the Rookie Championship this year, his standing of 30th out of 99 drivers was not sufficient.

Van Cleef said he was disappointed for his team and everyone at Toyota.

"I am very pleased with the support we have received from Toyota Racing Development and Toyota Motorsports with the project. The crew worked hard and we are sorry that we were unable to showcase the Toyota in the manner we had planned.

"We were encouraged with our testing and practice sessions, and the performance improvements. The Toyota continues to display incredible potential for a very competitive showing this season. This temporary setback of bad racing luck has only served to further fuel our fires of determination."

The Discount Auto Parts 200 was Toyota and Van Cleef's first attempt together to compete with a multi-valve, overhead cam powerplant in the NASCAR Touring Series. The Toyota/Van Cleef team will continue its efforts in the 18-race Goody's Dash Series on March 18 at the Montgomery Motor Speedway in Alabama.

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Series NASCAR
Teams Toyota Racing