Sunday, June 18, 2006

Toyota's 2007 Camry ready for submission

Toyota's 2007 Camry ready for submission

Manufacturer to deliver latest design to NASCAR on Monday

By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
June 17, 2006
01:02 PM EDT (17:02 GMT)

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- The 2007 Toyota Camry that will be used in 20 of the 36 Nextel Cup Series races next season will be submitted to NASCAR on Monday morning, Lee White, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) USA's senior vice president and general manager, said Saturday.

White was at Michigan International Speedway in conjunction with Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series program and said the 2007 Camry, complete with the latest generation nose, would be delivered to the NASCAR research and development center in Concord, N.C.

NASCAR will take the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., for testing on Monday evening, he said.

The car, which was constructed at TRD's engineering facility in High Point, N.C., by the group led by engineer Todd Holbert, is scheduled to test for NASCAR on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driven by Toyota Truck Series driver Johnny Benson.

"Johnny's got Cup experience, he knows the ropes and he's well-respected," White said of Benson, a Bill Davis Racing driver. "NASCAR expects us to turn top-20 times over an extended run.

"After the test, they're going to take the engine back and dyno test it to make sure it's within the horsepower parameters they're looking for."

White said the engine configuration is somewhere between the current Truck Series engine and the engine that Toyota plans to submit by the Sept. 1 deadline, for use in 2007.

"It's got the bigger carburetor and intake manifold on it to bring it up to the horsepower rating we think we'll need to have," White said. "It's one of two engine configurations we're working on as we move toward [our 2007 submission].

"The other is what we call the 'hybrid engine,' which has some additional metal in it to account for modifications NASCAR might want us to make as we go forward."

White confirmed that TRD has been working closely with NASCAR through every step of the approval process of its cars and engines, and anticipated the approval of Camry's "car of today" would come soon.

"Our teams have to build about 100 of these cars and we don't have an awful lot of time to do it in," White said, "so we certainly hope the approval will come quickly."

White said the manufacturer also is redoubling its efforts on the Car of Tomorrow, which will be used at all short tracks and road courses next season -- a total of 16 races -- and reiterated TRD president and CEO Jim Aust's prediction that Toyota's car would be at Michigan in August for the next scheduled COT test.

"It's important to NASCAR that all the manufacturers get behind this program and step up and participate," White said. "They are close enough on the rules package, we believe, that we are really ready to complete the chassis we have under construction already.

"We hope to have at least two of them at the test in August, if not more than that."

White also said he was pleasantly surprised to find, at least to this point, that the cooperation among the Toyota Cup teams has approximated that of the Craftsman Truck programs.

Burger King, Domino's to sponsor MWR in '07

Burger King, Domino's to sponsor MWR in '07

Food companies to split time on No. 00 Toyota next season

Team Release
June 18, 2006
05:53 PM EDT (21:53 GMT)

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced Sunday it has formed a unique partnership with two marquee brands -- Domino's Pizza (DPZ) and Burger King Corporation (BKC) to be co-primary sponsors of its second 2007 Nextel Cup Series team.

"When we first approached Burger King and Domino's Pizza, we knew we were thinking outside of the box and didn't know if two food brands would be willing to work together to sponsor the same team," said Michael Waltrip. "We took the risk and are very excited to have two of the world's most recognized brands sponsoring the No. 00 Nextel Cup team."

"It's not unusual for two or more sponsors to split a sponsorship season," said Ty Norris, General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. "However, this is the first time that two companies within the same industry agreed to be sponsors of the same car during the same season. This is another example of the unprecedented approach Michael Waltrip Racing is taking to becoming a multi-car Nextel Cup team organization."

Domino's will kick off the season at the Daytona 500 and continue as the primary sponsor through the May race in Darlington, S.C. A Domino's paint scheme will also adorn the No. 00 Toyota Camry at the August Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Domino's will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the Nextel Cup.

"We've taken a strategic approach to our involvement with NASCAR and have been rewarded by the fans as we moved from the number three pizza choice to number one in a few short years," said Ken Calwell, Domino's Chief Marketing Officer. "By splitting the 2007 season with Burger King, we are able to implement our marketing and promotional efforts at different points throughout the season that make sense for our brand and build more meaningful connections with fans and customers."

The No. 00 Burger King Toyota Camry will hit the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Five Chase for the Nextel Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme.

"We're excited about the opportunity to extend our 2006 primary sponsorship commitment with Michael Waltrip Racing for another year," said Russ Klein, Chief Marketing Officer, BKC. "Our Have it Your Way philosophy is about giving our customers experiences they want. We're looking to deliver a winning season in 2007."

The split-season sponsorship allows Domino's and Burger King to continue their respective relationships with Michael Waltrip Racing, while positioning both companies at the forefront of the changing motorsports industry.

The team along with input from both sponsors is in negotiations to secure a driver and will make a separate announcement once a driver has been determined.

"I hope we find a driver who likes to eat," said Waltrip. "I've had an opportunity to work with both Domino's Pizza and Burger King in the past and believe we're delivering a race team the fans will love."

Domino's, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, partnered with MWR three times in 2005 as the primary sponsor on Waltrip's No. 99 NASCAR Busch Series car and will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip's No. 55 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car at the Michigan International Speedway race in August. Burger King recently announced plans to join MWR for a partial season in 2006, sponsoring the No. 00 Nextel Cup car for five races beginning in July at Chicagoland Speedway.