Toyota's developing NASCAR program has received a boost following the announcement that front-running team Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has signed a deal to run Camrys from 2008
Joe Gibbs Racing to drive Toyota
NASCAR or National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is America's equivalent to the European DTM, WTCC or even Formula 1 racing series and is immensely popular with the American public. The all-American brands (GM, Ford and Chrysler) have been displaying their racing prowess since its inception back in 1948 with their 'stock cars', but had to stand on the sidelines as Toyota took the 2004 driver's and manufacturer's title in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. To add insult to injury the Big Three have since this year had to indulge Toyota's entry into their race, the top tier Nextel Cup.
Toyota is still looking to gain equal stature with the Big Three (eventhough they're the Number 2 in sales) and what better way than to start raking up victories in America's beloved NASCAR racing series. Toyota entered their first Camry's this season in the top tier Cup Series and will be fielding more next season when Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will be using Toyota's stock car. This year, as a rookie team, Toyota has managed one pole position and a best-finish of fifth in the cup series, and Jason Leffler scored Toyota's first ever win, and numerous pole positions, in the second tier Busch Series.
JGR has been very succesful over the past 16 years with 3 cup wins amd over 70 race wins. Star drivers Tony Stewart (currently placed third), Deny Hamlin (holding ninth place) and new signing Kyle Busch (currently in fifth place) will all be driving Camrys in the 2008 Sprint Cup, the Nextel Cup's new name starting 2008.
Mr Gibbs: "Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota want to be competitive now and for generations to come. We want to be the team to beat."