• Jan 2, 2008
After several years of competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, Toyota became the first import manufacturer to jump into the big leagues of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing in 2007. The Camry-badged Nextel Cup car started off last season with some high profile rules infractions at the Daytona 500, but actually managed a halfway decent season with two top five and 11 top ten finishes. Given the number of cars that run NASCAR races, that's a better percentage than Toyota's ever managed in Formula One. However, like the F1 team, a Toyota NASCAR entry has yet to score an outright victory.

Toyota's Motorsports VP Jim Aust has declared that this situation will not stand. While the F1 team has been given until 2010 to get its act together, Aust is pretty adamant that the Camry will start winning in 2008 when NASCAR dumps Nextel as its primary sponsor and renames its series the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Now that the company has sorted out its engine for next season's Sprint Cup cars and Joe Gibbs Racing has switched to Toyota, Aust feels that Toyota's time has come. We'll see.

[Source: Toyota Open Road Blog, Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      When NASCAR lets you take a Ford, Chevy and Mopar engine and use the best of each to build your own and you have NASCAR in your back pocket you should win.
      • 7 Years Ago
      and since Tony Stewart is going to be driving Toyota this year, don't be surprised if you start seeing alot of Camrys with #20 stickers in the rear windows. We'll probably start seeing alot of Monte Carlo trade-ins in the used section of Toyota dealerships.

      Or, heaven forbid, Toyota will start making "special edition" Tony Stewart Camrys. Oh yes, the possibilities are endless, and worrisome at the same time. I don't think I could stomach seeing black and orange Camrys on the streets. Those Monte Carlos were bad enough.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why oh why can't the US embrace touring car racing like the rest of the world? It's dynamically more interesting (i.e. proper road courses) and the machinery used is a direct reflection of show room models. I was watching an Aussie V8 Supercar race on SPEED the other day and was blown away by how visceral it was and by how violently the drivers muscle those cars around a race track. Let's evolve from the stone age US motor sports fans.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Did you see the V8 Supercar race at Mount Panorama (Bathurst 1000)? Sweetness.

        I'd love to see touring car racing do better here. Last year the Koni Challenge almost collapsed, that's how bad TC is doing here right now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh, I forgot. Why is TOCA the only racing game with Bathurst in it? It's a fantastic track. You'd think Forza or GT would have it in there.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If Toyota has trouble putting a car in the winners circle, NASCAR will adjust their "performance equalization rules" untill they do. Too much money involved not to. It's all about the show after all, even the drivers call it a show when interviewed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why would they care to win NASCAR. Thats like winning your mentally challenged cousin's annual 3-legged races... whats the point?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Its foolish to think anyone who watches NASCAR would be caught dead in anything that isnt "Built FORD tough" whatever that means or is somehow branded as "This country's" truck.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The point is the 37 Million people willing to watch your mentally challenged cousin's 3-legged races. That's why Toyota cares.

        • 7 Years Ago
        For some reason, I don't think Toyota winning a nascar race would push someone over the edge into buying one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well Toyota is aiming directly at the truck market with a big sticker on the tundra’s here in Texas that reads, “Built by Texans for Texans”.

        I haven’t’ liked NASCAR much since they turned it into an IROC completion (about 20 years ago or more). I want to see manufacturer against manufacture not driver against driver. It looks like F1 is going the same direction limiting technology =(.

        Bring back the real stock cars and I will tune in!
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Camry will start winning in 2008 when NASCAR dumps Nextel as its primary sponsor and renames its series the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series".

      YOU DO REALIZE THIS (Nextel Sprint) IS THE SAME COMPANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm an avid NASCAR fan, but I have been losing faith in the sport ever since they claimed there would be 'more manufacturer identity'. So putting stickers on a car makes it a Dodge or Ford now? They chassis are exactly the same. France needs to leave, and let someone who knows a thing or two about NASCAR run the gig. I'd love to see an actual Charger or whatever run the race. Straight HEMI power.

      Nosecones and 5 foot wings. 'Nuff said.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hmmm...interesting move by Toyota to enter the Camry into the Nascar Nextel Cup racing series...(oval tracks are okay...however, I like the road courses.)

      I would agree with some of the readers. I think the Camry's would do better in the touring series (racing road courses...better venue to test the vehicle's-Camry's capabilities...).

      • 7 Years Ago
      "Toyota vows victory in NASCAR this season"

      Volkswagon vows to be #1 in two years, and pigs fly.

      I do think Toyota does have a better chance though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      with old timers like my self not going to the NASCAR races as much as we used to NASCAR needed to tap into the people who buy non big 3 cars to sell tickets. that is why toyota is there,NASCAR wanted them. i used to go to 12/15 races a year but now the cost is so much i can only go to daytona for speed weeks and 4 tickets for all the races there cost me $3000
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just a small correction. Toyota isn't the "first import manufacturer to jump into the big leagues of NASCAR". Back in the '50s, there were a few foreign makes that competed in NASCAR, and a Jaguar actually won NASCAR's first road-course race.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota is the #1 automotive company in the world and will be crowned NASCAR champ one day, might as well face facts, there isn't even a Monte Carlo left at GM..............sad really!!!!!!!!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I bet an F1 championship from them is right around the corner too. And what exactly does Toyota make besides appliances? There isn't even a Celica left at Toyota.....sad really.
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