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]