• Sep 6, 2007
Toyota has just raised its profile in NASCAR's top racing series. For the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup (née NEXTEL Cup) season, Joe Gibbs Racing will trade in its Chevrolets for Toyota Camrys (or at least cars with Toyota Camry headlight and grille stickers decorating their noses). In terms of star power, it means that Toyota picks up some very big names in Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin. Stewart showed how receptive he was to the change by announcing plans to sign a contract extension with JGR that keeps him on the NFL coaching legend's race team through the '09 season.

In a piece he wrote for FOXSports.com, Darryl Waltrip (whose brother Michael's team also runs Toyotas) said that the deal is a boon for both Toyota and JGR, because the adoption of the Car of Tomorrow for the full season next year basically levels the playing field where the cars themselves are concerned. The engines will be the difference-makers on the technical front. Waltrip feels that Gibbs' excellent engineering team will work wonders with the Toyota race engine, and that the JGR Camrys should be competitive right away. We'll see how right or wrong he is on Sunday, February 17, 2008, when the green flag waves at Daytona.

Follow the jump for press releases from Toyota and JGR.

Thanks for the tip, Saimin.

[Sources: Toyota Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, NYT Wheels Blog, FOX Sports]

PRESS RELEASE:
TOYOTA AND JOE GIBBS RACING TO TEAM UP FOR 2008 NASCAR SPRINT CUP AND GRAND NATIONAL SERIES

TORRANCE, Calif. (September 5, 2007) -- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that the three-time championship-winning race team will campaign Toyota Camrys for drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Joe Gibbs Racing's NASCAR Grand National Series program will also utilize Toyota Camrys next season.

Joe Gibbs Racing will be joining Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull as the teams that will be racing the 'Most Popular Car in America' when the 2008 season kicks-off next February at Daytona International Speedway.

"Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the most respected teams in NASCAR, a championship-caliber race team and a first-class organization," said Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and president and CEO of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). "We are confident that partnering with the Gibbs team will raise the level of our entire Toyota NASCAR program, and will be beneficial to all of the current teams racing the Toyota Camry."

"Our motorsports heritage has taught us the value of working with experienced teams and partners," Aust said. "We have built excellent relationships with the current teams as we have developed the Toyota Camry Cup program during our first year of NASCAR competition, and we look forward to developing a similar relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing."

"Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota want to be competitive now and for generations to come," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We have the same mindset in terms of performance and technology. We want to be the team to beat. They want to be the manufacturer to beat. That's a combination that works for us, for them, and our sponsors."

The addition of Joe Gibbs Racing to Toyota's NASCAR fold adds luster to a legacy 25 years in the making. Toyota began its full-scale American motorsports involvement 25 years ago in both IMSA sports cars, and off-road stadium and desert truck racing. Along the way, Toyota has won championships and races in Champ Car, IRL, sports car, and off-road.

Toyota began competing in NASCAR in the 2000 Goody's Dash Series and became a participant in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. In addition to entering the Camry in Cup Series and Busch Series competition this season, Toyota has continued to participate in the Craftsman Truck Series with the Tundra.

Highlights from Toyota's NASCAR activities include the 2003 Dash Series driver's title (Robert Huffman) and the 2006 manufacturer's and driver's championships (Todd Bodine) in the Craftsman Truck Series, as well as a Busch Series victory (Jason Leffler) at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis earlier this year. Brian Vickers fifth-place finish at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway has been the best finish by the Toyota Camry in the Nextel Cup Series this season.

The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America for four straight years and eight of the past nine years. Assembled at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant, more than six million Camry models have been sold in the United States since its debut 23 years ago.

In 1992, Joe Gibbs Racing made its NASCAR debut with driver Dale Jarrett and sponsor Interstate Batteries. Since their initial season in NASCAR Cup competition, the team has captured series titles with Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Bobby Labonte (2000), and has won over 70 races (Cup and Busch).

TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development)

Powering all of Toyota's American racing programs is TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Mooresville, N.C. A subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., TRD serves as the North American racing arm for design, development and assembly of Toyota's factory racing engines. In addition, TRD is also the source of high-performance aftermarket products for both street performance and grassroots racing Toyotas. From the race track to the aftermarket product segment, TRD plays a key role in providing Toyota with an enhanced performance image.

TOYOTA IN AMERICA

Toyota has ten manufacturing facilities in the United States, with one more currently under construction in Mississippi. With a strong manufacturing presence in the country, it's no surprise that more than half the Toyota vehicles sold in the United States are built here -- using many American-sourced parts. Toyota's overall commitment translates into manufacturing plants, sales and marketing operations, and research and design facilities throughout the United States, where Toyota directly employs more than 32,000. Since 1986, the company has built more than 12 million cars and trucks in the U.S. As one of the world's leading automakers, Toyota 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.

###

Joe Gibbs Racing to Switch to Toyota in 2008
Team Will Field Camrys in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Grand National Series

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 5, 2007) – Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), winners of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championships and over 70 NASCAR races, will campaign Toyota Camrys in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Grand National Series beginning in 2008.

"We look forward to partnering with Toyota in NASCAR in 2008. Toyota will be hands-on with us as we become an integral part of their long-term development in NASCAR," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR.

"We have 420-plus families that are our number one priority, and taking care of them for the future is very important to us. Our people have made us as successful as we are today, and it's those same people who will ensure our success in the future. When our teams win, those families win. We're thrilled for everyone at JGR who will benefit from this."

"This decision was made by all of the key leadership at JGR," said Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations for JGR. "It was a decision made by the people in our competition department, who live by the one question whenever a decision is made regarding Joe Gibbs Racing: 'Will this make us more competitive on the race track?' The consensus answer was yes."

JGR has been associated with General Motors since its debut in the 1992 Daytona 500. The team fielded Chevrolets from 1992 through 1996, switched to Pontiac in 1997, and then switched back to Chevrolet in 2003. Two of its championships came with Pontiac – Bobby Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002 – while the most recent championship came with Chevrolet in 2005 at the hands of Stewart. Two of JGR's drivers – Stewart and Denny Hamlin – are currently in position to challenge for this year's championship.

"General Motors has been a great partner to Joe Gibbs Racing, and we've been able to celebrate many victories together," said Joe Gibbs, owner and founder of JGR. "GM has many great teams, and moving forward, we know they will continue to be very successful. It's our hope we can deliver to GM their 38th Cup Series championship this season as a way to cap our 16-year relationship with them."

"Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the most respected teams in NASCAR, a championship-caliber race team and a first-class organization," said Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motorsports and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development, USA. "We are confident that partnering with the Gibbs team will raise the level of our entire Toyota NASCAR program, and will be beneficial to all of our current teams racing the Toyota Camry."



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks like Danny Boy, who always had Toyota Toyota Toyota in the background of post game show got to Gibbs.

      I can picture Danny: "Come to the dark side."

      Gibbs drives a black Caddy (unless he changed it very very recently because of the Toyota). I saw him speak a few months ago (and he pulled up in his Caddy there). He actually mentioned Lexus by name during his talk. He mentioned a friend who I believe died or his wife died even though he "had everything" including a Lexus. I found that interesting then. Now I wonder if it was product placement.


      Maybe Gibbs will coach at Dallas next . Actually, with his current record they may not be interested.


      • 7 Years Ago
      This whole thing sucks. The car of tomorrow concept sucks. Only a retarded idiot dummy would even begin to think they are watching Chevys, Dodges, and Furds, uh Fords, racing for glory.

      The obvious solution is to go the way of making the teams race the actual cars being represented. That way you will know you are looking at a Chevy, Dodge, or Furd, uh Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It doesn,t really matter, Tony Stewart will race one or two more years in Nascar then he going back to racing Indy cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        He is too fat to fit in an Indy car now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gibbs jumps to Toyota.

      Toyota President jumps to Chrysler.

      Somebody knows something!!!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      As if anyone needed another reason to hate Tony Stewart, I don't even watch NASCAR and I know what a JO this guy is.

      It's appropriate he'll be behind the wheel of a Toy TuRD next year.

      I doubt Home Depot will drop their sponsorship, however, I'll never shop there again if they're throwing money at anything to do with Toyota.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I hate Lowe's, with a passion, but at this point, if Home Depot continues to sponsor Stewart's car, I'll switch to Lowe's. Now, I hate Chevy, but on the hating totem pole, Toyota's at the top.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I grew up amoung many Nascar fans. I started losing interest years ago, but I have been tuning in now more than ever. I'm so sick of the crying. As everyone knows, the Camry is the only car even partialy built in the US. It's also the best selling car in the US. Why not let them race. To be affraid of a competitor because they might win?? That's the story of a true loser. I can't wait for next season!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or maybe they should just race a "stock" CTS-V, that is also made in the U.S.A. How many Lexus cars are made here?

        Put a Lucerne sticker on one, that is made here too. Maybe even a Cobalt sticker, that is made here too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "As everyone knows, the Camry is the only car even partialy built in the US."

        Since those race cars aren't really stock they could easily just put an Aura, Malibu or G6 sticker on any of the GM NASCAR vehicles. Every one of those cars are currently made in the U.S.A. and nowhere else.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gibbs is not an idiot- just a traitor. But it doesn't matter, anyway, NASCAR died on February 18, 2001.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So? Dale died. Big deal.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, actualy it died when the King stopped racing.
        • 7 Years Ago
        NASCAR died when the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing became the National Association for Spec Car Auto Racing. That happend years before Dale passed on.
      James J Shaw Sr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fire Kyle Bush!!! And I'm sending the same message to the Mars/M&M company-I have to tell my grandchildren-(that's how a person acts when they show bad sportsmanship) I can't use my race scanner for fear of the young ones learning bad language, and the finger he holds up in his M&M fire-suit. Nascar used to be a family sport, and now it can only be viewed by adults=what a shame !!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      people didn't feel right about african americans playing sports either...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Not true, they don't mind them playing, they just hate when they dominate.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually, Nascar died when they went away from stock bodies, and running actually the car manufacturer's engines in race form.

      I.E... Ford ran the 427 cid wedge, Plymouth & Dodge, the 426 cid Hemi, and Chevy, the 427 cid block used in vettes, and Impalas.

      The Stockers were stockers. You raced a more familiar facimile of what the consumer could identify, and buy.

      The bodies, may have been acid-dipped to remove some weight, but you could recognize a Ford Torino, Dodge Charger, or GM stocker by it's body shape, not pained on headlights, and identically shaped template bodies.

      The template you followed was the one that matched your manufacturer's body, not Nascars cloned template.

      Now that was true stock car racing!!!! If one manufacturer built a model that was more aerodynamic, then it benefitted them over the other manufacturers in Nascar.

      Even the old Trans American SCCA road racing series of the 60's-70's with the Javelins, Cougars, Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, Barracudas, and Challengers had to run engine and performance parts that were "Homologated", or proved to be produced and available to the public through the manufacturer's dealership/parts departments.

      Now Nascar is solely a driver's competition and has absolutely nothing to do with a particular manufacturer's engine. The Engines used in Fords, GM's, Chryslers and Toyota stockers are basically or virtually identical in specs. Only advantage is where one motor assembler might do a better job prepping the race engine than another. :(
        • 7 Years Ago
        I couldn't agree more about the current state of NASCAR. When I can no longer tell which car is which, it's a disgrace. Since it comes down to only the engine being the real difference, it's boring. About the only real racing done are the road races.

        It's a shame that so many turn out for NASCAR races and don't know what they're really missing. Can you imagine if we saw Tony Stewart in a ZO6 Impala vs. Kasey Kahne in a 300 Hemi vs. Matt Kenseth in a new Taurus and whomever in a Camry? It would only make the Big 3 be more competitive in the showroom if they didn't win. There was really something to "Win on Sunday; Sell on Monday".
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh and, it is amazing how they made the car even uglier than the real one LOL.
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      What goes around comes around. The traitor will have his day. I am sure this is connected to greed somehow. Thats 2 sins in 2 seconds! I do not care for NASCAR but people in this country today are so into themselves and could care less about America.
    • Load More Comments