Three teams have deals with Toyota
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing announced new multiyear extensions with Toyota on Tuesday.
Lee White, the president of Toyota Racing Development, said all three teams will be with Toyota "for a long time to come."
The announcement was made at TRD's Salisbury, N.C., shop where the re-designed 2013 Camry was introduced. It came amid speculation that Dodge, which loses anchor Penske Racing to Ford after this season, might target JGR.
White admitted that one of Toyota's organizations was "ripe for the picking by one of our fellow manufacturers."
"All have agreements with Toyota and TRD that extend beyond two more years," White said. "Rest assured, we enjoy our partners, we value our partners, and we expect to be competing with our partners on this dance floor for a long time."
JGR owner Joe Gibbs said he never had conversations with Dodge.
"For us, our partnership with Toyota has been so good we didn't have any discussions with anybody else," he said. "So many of our projects are tied up with Toyota now, from our engines to research, that there is no separation."
White has been consistent since Toyota came into the sport in 2007 that he wanted the manufacturer to make up about a quarter of the field. With seven cars currently in the fleet, he says there is room for JGR and MWR to grow from three- to four-car teams once the economy turns around and sponsorship is found.
"We're happy with the guys we've got," White said. "I would hope the economy turns around a little bit and we very easily could get back to eight or nine cars."
On the 2013 car, Toyota and NASCAR officials praised the effort of all four manufacturers in making the Camrys look more like the street models. NASCAR president Mike Helton said this is a "very significant part of NASCAR history."
"Most important, I hope we can continue to remember that it is important for the NASCAR product to continue to be relevant," Helton added.