Toyota joins NASCAR!

scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
edited April 2014 in Toyota
Who could have predicted this?

"In what has been common knowledge....Toyota announced on Monday that it would...compete in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series using the Camry..."

A hot rod Camry (?!) runnin' shine on the back roads of North Carolina with the revenooers in hot pursuit.


  • au94au94 Member Posts: 171
    Just shows how diverse the fan base has become.

    Go to a race, look at what's in the parking lot. Of course there's tons of F-150's and Silverado's but more and more you are seeing, Tundra's, Camrys, Accords etc.

    This ain't your fathers NASCAR!!
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    Absolutely. Though I don't particularly enjoy NASCAR racing myself, I have to admire how user-friendly they've made racing and how they've moved motorsports into the mainstream.

    F1 could learn a thing or two from NASCAR in that respect.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    what brand of car competes. All of the cars that compete have to fit a basic body template. You can't buy an 8cyl Fusion, or a RWD Fusion or RWD Monte Carlo. A Camry shouldn't be so suprising.

    Regardless of what your opinion is about the quality of Nascar racing, it is big business. Driver's fans are also very loyal (sometimes to an almost scary extent). I guarantee you that there will be a lot of Camries purchased by people that would never before even have considered one, just because their favorite driver drives one.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630 the fact that GM/Ford/Dodge has had decades of experience building/tuning pushrod OHV V8's displacing roughly 350ci.

    And now Toyota has had to build from the ground up a new pushrod V8 to comply with Nascar's rules. And they've done quite well with their motors in the Nascar Truck series the last couple of years.
  • acura_el2000acura_el2000 Member Posts: 19
    Id say because its not that hard.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    I'd suspect that Toyota (the Toyota race teams) will be acquiring the services of a lot of those builders/tuners that have been working on those Dodge/Ford/Chevy engines all these years.
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    NASCAR sucks. I'm disappointed with Toyota for going there, but I guess they can afford to throw their money away on a boondoggle. Baseball, apple pie, and Toyota!
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "I'd suspect that Toyota (the Toyota race teams) will be acquiring the services of a lot of those builders/tuners that have been working on those Dodge/Ford/Chevy engines all these years."

    And you would be correct.

    Good article from Car and Driver on Toyota's effort in the Nascar Truck Series. I would expect their effort in the Cup cars to be very very similar. =1
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    If I were Toyota's competitors right now, I'd be getting drunk in a sleazy bar somewhere...
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Actually, I think they're all taking hard looks at the rule books trying to find ways to make the Toyota motors illegal...

    ....and THEN they'll be getting drunk and lamenting the passing of the good'ol days....
  • corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    As you guys likely know, the "good'ol days" ended in the late 1980s. Once guys like Roger Penske, Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick infiltrated the sport the days of chain smoke'in booze hounds sliding around in rolling monkey cages came to a halt.

    Like it or not (I'm still undecided), NASCAR is well run and entertaining. To me, it will never match the glory days of CART for its combination of engineering and competition. Unfortunately, the engineering aspect made that organization unsustainable. Who in their right mind would scream down the back stretch at California at 260mph traffic? Given what it is, NASCAR is good, competitive fun. Nothing more, nothing less. When looked at in that light, I sort of like it.

    And, I don't think Ford, GM or DC wet themselves when Toyota entered the sport. DC certainly didn't cry foul when Toyota entered F1 and proceeded to fall flat on its face. They will be competitive right from the start. They may even win a few races and compete for the championship. I thinks that's why so many people gravitate to NASCAR. Winning is possible. Miss the right combination in F1 and you're out to lunch for a very long, expensive and frustrating season. Miss the combination for NASCAR's superspeedways and you can make up for it at the short tracks and road courses.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372

    Yea, I figured this story would attract some discussion :P
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    is a brilliant move on Toyota's part.

    NASCAR has a devoted audience of millions. They have (up to now) not tended to be Toyota/Lexus customers.

    It should draw a lot more customers into the Toyota camp.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,212
    to make sure all makes are somewhat competitive. if you follow the series, i do, you realize it is pretty easy to mess up the aerodynamics by creasing a fender, or whatever. the sanctioning body can do the same thing off the track. toyota's best leverage will be signing big name sponsors. THAT will be interesting! The 'Home Depot' Camry?
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    Looks like they got Red Bull, Caterpillar, and NAPA.

    This could be the only manufacturer for which the money pumped into NASCAR is worth it. Toyota will get a lot of use out of this PR.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,212
    those haven't traditionally been the big dollar sponsors.
    if you are right about napa, i don't get that. are they international?
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    So Toyota has joined the fools of the Big 2.5 that throw hundreds of millions at NASCAR, and get nothing out of it.

    Let's be serious - NASCAR has been a joke for about the last 20 years. It is popular because it gives people an excuse to get some sun, get drunk, and hopefully see an accident.

    Even the sunburned drunks know the cars have absolutely nothing in common with what is sold in the dealerships. Well, except for maybe the ones who also believe Pro Wrestling is real.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,212
    seems to be similar to the nfl playoffs this year.
    are there any camry commercials during the games? :)
    nascar is definitely sports-ertainment.
    does not make it bad, though.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • acura_el2000acura_el2000 Member Posts: 19
    its a lost sport, the cars are extremly dated technologically, back in the 70's you could go and buy a ford tornio almost like the race car, heck it had a v8 and rwd, now the only nascar that you can get a v8 in is the charger. stupid, the cars are mostly based of off fwd v6 family cars. the speeds are not even a big deal, back in the 70's cars were also going the about the same speeds they still use carburation as well, which is dumb and yeah i understand it eliminates the need for computers, blah blah, but if you were to compare modern nascar to say, skiing, the skiiers would still be using hand carved wooden skis. but i can understand how watching cars that look exactly the same, save a few headlight decals, do 1000 left turns in a row. how intense!!
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    I don't know who's big and who's not among sponsors. I'm really not familiar with NASCAR... I just saw Red Bull and I recognize them from F1. Napa is just Napa Auto Parts, isn't it?
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "So Toyota has joined the fools of the Big 2.5 that throw hundreds of millions at NASCAR, and get nothing out of it."

    Bold statement. Do you have any way to back up your assertion regarding the money that Ford/GM/DCX dumps into NASCAR?

    What makes you think they getting nothing out of it? The domestic automakers have been involved for decades; one would think that if they got nothing out of it, they would have stopped long ago.

    I wonder how much benefit the manufacturers get from their participation in CART/IRL? Can you tell us what form of motorsport that the manufacturers get the most benefit from?
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    "those haven't traditionally been the big dollar sponsors.
    if you are right about napa, i don't get that. are they international?"

    RedBull has been involved in F1 racing for a while - not exactly a low budget sport.

    Just curious, what do you not get about Napa's involvement? They have sponsored the #15 Chevy for Michael Waltrip in the past, and will be sponsoring the #55 Dodge for Michael Waltrip this season. They will then go with Michael Waltrip in '07 when he races with Toyota. It makes pretty good sense that a supplier of automotive parts would sponsor a race car...regardless of the brand.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...depends less on what car is driven and more on the driver. You put a good driver in a Kia Optima NASCAR race car and he could win. Toyota has only one V-8. Is the Bodine-block based off the same engine used in the Lexus LS430?
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    of the new NASCAR recruits.

    It would not surprise me if Nissan, Honda and Hyundai follow within a few years.

    You heard it here first.
  • jefferygjefferyg Member Posts: 418

    The truth in NASCAR is that the fan base is more loyal to the driver than anything else. Jeff Gordon is not going to lose any fans if he goes with Toyota. Some may be shocked, even disappointed, but in the end, NASCAR is more about driver ability than it is about the cars.

    The cars are "set up" the way they are with the same aerodynamics, restrictor plates, engines (none of which are totally Ford, Chevy, Dodge, or Toyota), etc, to "even the playing field." The saying "There's nothing 'stock' about a stock car" is very true. And the truth is as someone pointed out earlier that the main differences in each model is the paint job and stickers.

    Driving skills and a fast pit crew are what win races in NASCAR.

    Additionally, sales of Monte Carlos are not going up if Jimmy Johnson wins at Daytona in a few weeks. People don't buy certain brands because they win races. People do, however, root for certain brands because they already drive them or they prefer that certain brand of car. I think somehow they feel validated in buying a Tundra if it wins the Craftsman Truck series. OTOH, as I said earlier, real NASCAR fans are loyal to their drivers. Why else do you see #8 stickers (Dale, Jr.) in the back window of Ford pickups? :confuse:

    I would also encourage any of you who really want the inside scoop on NASCAR and how it began to visit Daytona. I had an opportunity last year to visit the NASCAR Experience there and to take a tour of the track and to be introduced to some of the history of NASCAR, which is quite interesting. In the very early days (prior to super speedways, high banks, and corporate sponsors), most anyone could drive the family sedan out to the race, run the race in that same car, and perhaps go home a winner. Toyota coming into the "sport" is in keeping with NASCAR's roots, because (and I type this with clenched teeth) no other car nowadays epitomizes "family sedan" more than a Toyota Camry. --I can't believe I just admitted that. :cry:
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...Richard Petty went from Plymouths to Pontiacs and this is when NASCAR racers were closer to actual production models. His father Lee Petty raced Oldsmobiles. Bobby Allison used to race AMC Matadors then went to Buick in the '80s.

    A real shock would probably be Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving a Toyota.

    I'd have loved to seen a NASCAR race when it was closer to its good 'ole boy moonshine runner days. I could imagine what it would be like seeing Olds Rocket 88s racing Twin H-Power Hudson Hornets!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Do you think a REAL stock car series would fly? Where the only restriction would be that the car in the race had to be available as a production model so that there really might be bragging rights to be had? :P
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    SCCA has something very close to this. Pontiac GTO competes against the BMW 3-series and Porsches in the GT class in the Rolex series. The Mustang (and a slew of others) competes in some other classes.
  • socala4socala4 Member Posts: 2,427
    Do you think a REAL stock car series would fly?

    That describes "autocross", which doesn't have much of a fan base. (Regular street cars with better belts and roll cages.) Seems a bit like soccer in the US -- people like to play it, but not watch pro's doing it. But why that is, I don't really know, maybe it could be marketed and promoted.

    Group B racing used to be somewhat like this -- it's what led to the Porsche 959 and Cosworth Fords in the UK, among others, because 200 cars had to be sold. I'm not a big racing fan, so I don't know why this was scrapped, but I would have thought that it could be a great test bed for new technology. What was originally in the 959 ended up in later 911's, for one.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "But why that is, I don't really know, maybe it could be marketed and promoted."

    Nope, autocross won't ever fly as a spectator sport in this country for one of the main reasons rallying doesn't have a huge following:

    Americans want to see competition (head to head competition) between drivers. Not competition against a stop watch. For the most part, it ISN'T about advancing technology so the cars go faster and faster; fans want to see close racing.

    There are two ways one can view autoracing:

    It's either a competition to see which machine can go fastest (in which case fans like to see individual vehicles on the raw edge, racing against the clock, or with the lead vehicle 10-15-20 seconds ahead of their rivals). Fans of this type of racing are excited by huge numbers (mph, leads, quickest time, etc.) This type of racing is essentially man/machine vs. the race course.

    OR they want to see very close head to head racing where guys are fighting each other all over the track and that extremely minor miscues result in PASSES. Fans of this type of racing are excited by numbers of passes, number of drivers who can win, how very minor changes in track condition/car setup can make an early frontrunner struggle late in a race or allow a team which struggled early to be strong at the end. This type of racing is man/machine vs. OTHER man/machine.

    Are the speeds lower in NASCAR? Sure. Is the technology archaic? Absolutely. But, because the cars are so evenly matched, it makes the races much more exciting for the spectators.
  • jefferygjefferyg Member Posts: 418
    WELL IT USED TO! The original races down at Daytona when they raced on the beach AND the streets were very much like Lemko described a couple of posts ago.

    I don't know about a series, but if you had a race that, as you said, had no restrictions so that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could race, then I think you'd see a great interest in it. They could start with qualifying races leading up to the big one.

    As a Mississippian who has lived in the Deep South all my life, I can tell you for a fact that there are plenty of people who would jump at the chance to run their brand spanking new car (regardless of model) at Talladega if they had the chance - and they're not all toothless rednecks that go by two names like JimBob or BennyEarl. Many of them have more money than sense and they'd enter just to see if they have the right stuff.

    Like I said, I don't know about a series, but I believe millions would tune in to see a bunch of average Joes run at Daytona or Talladega. It's one of those opportunities for the working man (or woman) to live vicariously through their neighbor. And for all those who drive whatever car wins to have bragging rights.

    And besides all that, just think of how much money it would generate. The bodywork alone from all those amateurs who wreck their cars would no doubt reach the millions of dollars. You know the more I write about this the more I like the idea. Anybody want to sponsor my VW? :shades:
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    True: but the car brands have a following as well.

    IMO NASCAR expands its fan base a lot by bringing Toyota on board.

    When Honda, Nissan and Hyundai follow Toyota, NASCAR will gain even more fans.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    Speed Challenge is the closest thing, and I think it's great!

    (In rallying, Group N - I think that's the designation - is stock plus skid plates and a couple of minor other mods. The STi and Evo exist to satisfy that homologation.)

    I can see the use of NASCAR advertising, but I don't think it's worth the money they put into it.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,212
    i wasn't thinking bout napa selling lots of parts for toyota's, etc..., but they do.
    i was more thinking about the dollars put up as a sponsor.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    I'd love to see the SCCA Trans-Am series go back to a more-or-less stock field.

    I think that was one of the reasons it was so popular back in the could watch basically the car you owned compete in a real race. As Ford said in the ads for the 1969 Boss 302..."closest thing to a Trans-Am Mustang you can bolt a license plate onto!"

    A new Toyota Supra would probably do quite well in Trans-Am. They could even bill the series as a "domestic vs. foreign shootout"....could draw in a big, if somewhat opposed, crowd. ;)
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    we would have to admit the automotive racing is simply entertainment. As such it is designed to make money for the people that sponsor racing. Much like TV depends on sponsors buy attracting more viewers. No racing attracts viewers like NASCAR. Toyota is thinking from a very logical business point by becoming part of NASCAR. They could enter any racing they wanted but even if they win they don't get half the exposure they would get even if they lost at a NASCAR race. If the people racing NASCAR are fools they are some pretty dumb people making big deposits at the bank. Face it F-1 doesn't bring in the bucks. WRC isn't helping put a company on the front page. No one even knows who drives for most other motorsports. But everyone who can read Knows who Jeff Gordon is or Earnhardt JR. Do to a dinner party with non car enthusiast friends and Mention Shoemacher and see if people don't think of a Jockey. Talk about Loeb and see if they don't remember two boys who thought they were so smart they could get away with murder. If you were a stock holder I am sure you would be happy to see Toyota in NASCAR.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    NASCAR is basically gladitorial combat. I think that is the main attraction and that has always been a compelling crowd-puller. F1 is way too fussy for the average TV watcher and too expensive to follow in person.

    The only oval racing I like, which is very hard to find these days, is dirt track stock car racing.

    Also GP motorycles are kinda fun.
  • jefferygjefferyg Member Posts: 418
    Shifty, you need to come visit us here in the South. There's a dirt track in every third town. :)
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    we had a dirt track pretty close for years. They decided it would make more as a shopping center however so I have to watch it on ESBN.
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    really fun in a back-to-the-roots kind of way.

    I find sidecar racing fascinating too. I wonder how many calories the man on the chair (sidecar) burns per hour? Talk about perpetual motion!
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    The monkey? I'll bet he sweats off ten pounds.
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    racing circuit in North America?

    You may be right about the chair man (monkey) losing 10 pounds during a race.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I could never afford the underwear changes :P
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,212
    i don't know if i could trust anyone else that much either!
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    I don't think there are any side car races in the US. Europe has quite a circuit.
  • odie6lodie6l Member Posts: 1,173
    I see those 2 person motorcycle's racing every once and a while late at night on SPEED Channel. You know the one's with the guy sliding back and forth on the wide back end of the motorbike. I have no idea what they are actually called, but I know the run them out at Laguna Seca.

  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    It seems a natural to add Toyota and the fan base Toyota cars will bring.

    I expect there will be 2-3 more manufacturers seriously commited to NASCAR over the next few years.

    Think how many more fans would come if they could see 'their' Honda, Hyundai or Nissan getting the Darlington stripe!
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    I think you are right. People identify with NASCAR almost as much as we do Football. Joining the NASCAR team gets you recognized more than any other racing there is in the US. American fans don't know or care about F-1, WRC or even the Paris to Dakar race winners. But every one knows the Unser family,the Petty family or the Earnhardt family. Put someone in a Toyota that the people like and they will be putting that number on their Toyota window before you know it.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Imagine that! Suburban yuppies placing little racing number decals on the quarter windows of their Camries! Still, I think it's more about the drivers rather than the cars. My interest in NASCAR has diminished since Dale, Sr. died.
  • jefferygjefferyg Member Posts: 418
    My interest in NASCAR has diminished since Dale, Sr. died.

    This statement itself helps to prove the point that has been made over and over about driver rather than brand loyalty in NASCAR.

    I never was an Earnhardt fan, although admittedly I always wanted to watch him to see who he would "take out" of each race. I personally feel that Old School NASCAR died with Dale, Sr. He wasn't called "The Intimidator" for nothing. I think that's what has limited Jr's success. He lacks the killer instinct of his father.

    But since you brought up Dale, Sr. here's a couple of questions to ponder: If Dale, Sr. was still alive and driving do you think he'd even consider driving a Camry? I don't think so.

    Question 2: If he was still in his #3 Chevy coming off turn four at Daytona running 2nd behind a Camry with a Ford Running 3rd, and a Dodge in 4th, would he purposefully take out the Toyota and possibly let the Ford and Dodge pass him just to keep the Toyota out of the Winner's Circle on it's debut? I believe he would. ;)
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