Last month, Toyota Motor Corp. joined NASCAR to compete in both the Nextel and Busch series next year. Reaction to the company’s participation in the “Great American Sport”, especially in the Nextel race, has been decidingly mixed among drivers and NASCAR fans, according to Steve Lannen of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
"I'm not going to root for the cars,” said fan Al High when asked about Toyota’s entry. “I'm going to root for the drivers." Another fan, Glen Barber, said "it doesn't bother me they're in racing. ... It's just another nose piece (front of car) and a brand name.”

But fan Glen Wilkinson was definitely not accommodating. “It won’t be NASCAR,” he stated. “It will be ‘Japanese car’.” And while he’s aware that Toyota has plants in the U.S. building vehicles (called 'transplants') he added, "I know we got a plant up there (in Georgetown), but it's not American. I think they ought to just ship it out of here, anything that's not American-made."

[Continued after the jump] "I'm not going to root for the cars,” said fan Al High when asked about Toyota’s entry. “I'm going to root for the drivers." Another fan, Glen Barber, said "it doesn't bother me they're in racing. ... It's just another nose piece (front of car) and a brand name.”

But fan Glen Wilkinson was definitely not accommodating. “It won’t be NASCAR,” he stated. “It will be ‘Japanese car’.” And while he’s aware that Toyota has plants in the U.S. building vehicles (called 'transplants') he added, "I know we got a plant up there (in Georgetown), but it's not American. I think they ought to just ship it out of here, anything that's not American-made."

Toyota is apparently aware of the situation and sees participation in NASCAR as a further extension to its American factories, employment, and reputation. Said said Jim Farley, vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.,  "we (Toyota) hope, if we do it right, it's a way to be seen as a part of America, not just a company with a big check.

To be truly an American company, we can't just employ Americans, we can't just help the economy. We have to be a part of the culture of America."

[Lexington Herald-Leader via Mercury News]

Share This Photo X