Archive for the 'NASCAR' Category

Toyota Exclusive Auto Sponsor of Ny Marathon Mix

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Toyota the producer of high quality Toyota parking brake cables will join the marathon that will take place on the streets of New York. The Japanese automaker and currently the world’s largest automaker have signed a three-year contract to become the official and sole auto sponsor at both the ING New York City Marathon and the NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike. The financial portions of the deal were not disclosed but the Japanese automaker will feature its hybrid platform, including the Prius, Highlander SUV and the Camry Hybrid, via the regional TV and print, on-and off-course.

The contract would call for the operational usage such as transporting athletes and officials, and aside from the monetary prize both the men and women winners at the ING New York City Marathon will receive a Prius.

The coalition will also set off in support of the NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike on Aug. 5 while the ING New York City Marathon will be held on Nov. 4. The previous sponsor of the said events was DaimlerChrysler’s Smart microcompact in 2005.

According to Bryan Riss, Toyota’s vehicle operations manager, New York region, “Prius is our glamour hybrid—it gets the most attention from the Hollywood crowd—but we want to support our entire [hybrid] line.”

Riss also said that Toyota’s long-term plan is to have a hybrid for each model that the company builds and with this new alliance it will help to make consumers aware of the importance of hybrid vehicles. Avis, which is also one of the sponsors of the New York Marathon, said that it would include Prius as a car rental option beginning this summer.

Ann Hinegardner, svp-business development and marketing strategies at New York Road Runners, which oversees both marathons and numerous other running events year- round said, “The car category is very important to the marathon, and signing Toyota is in line with our commitment to the environment and health. Toyota plans a full activation now through November.”

The AST Dew Tour will employ several strategies in place as it embarks on its third season this week, Baltimore, Salt Lake City and Cleveland have replaced Louisville, San Jose, and Denver as tour stops. MTV has also been added to the media mix plus the tour name has been changed from the Dew Action Sports Tour with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew remaining as the title sponsor with the rest of other leading sponsors.

The schedule begins with the Panasonic Open at Baltimore on June 21-24 and runs through the PlayStation Pro at Orlando on Oct. 18-21 with top action sports athletes in BMX, motocross and skateboarding vying for points and monetary prizes.

Wade Martin, President and General Manager at the AST Dew Tour, Aurora, Ill., said, “This is the first part of our strategy to build AST [Action Sports Tour] as an umbrella brand that will encompass other events. We want AST to become what Nascar is to fans and consumers.”

He also added that the AST plans to include a US winter action sports tour and global events. The tour will also reach people via numerous outlets such as NBC and USA Network, Fuel TV, FSN radio, VOD in a potential of 30 million homes and iTUnes. New for this year on MTV and MTV2 will be the two behind-the-scenes shows and features prior to each of the tour events. Attendance in 2006 was about 250,000 which increased to 15,000 from the inaugural tour. The AST Dew Tour is owned by NBC Universal and Live Nation.

Martin further stated, “The challenge in our third year will be the same challenge in our 10th year: getting more people to attend in person, watch or access the events and support our sponsors.”

The other tour stops will include the Right Guard Open at Vleveland on July 19 to 22, Vans Invitational at Portland, Ore., on Aug. 16 to 19 and then finally the Toyota Challenge at Salt Lake City on Sept. 20 to 23.

By: Toyota USA Blog

Archive for the 'NASCAR' Category

Advanced Concepts for Handicapping Nascar

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Handicapping Theory for NASCAR

By Michael Cash

Pregame Pro Handicapper

Over the last 10 years NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) has been the fastest growing spectator sport in the world. It now boasts over 75 million fans worldwide and can be seen on television each week in over 150 countries. NASCAR holds 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S. each year. Not surprisingly, is the growing number of NASCAR fans who have turned to betting on this popular pastime.

How to Handicap NASCAR:

When handicapping a NASCAR race there are a number of things to keep in mind:

Trends: NASCAR can be very streaky, much more so than other sports. When drivers get hot, they tend to stay hot, and when drivers are running cold it tends to take them a number of races to get things turned around. You will want to look at not only recent performances but historical performances, as well. Given that a NASCAR driver’s career can last 30+ years in some cases, knowing how to analyze information is crucial to long term profits

Drivers: Just like any other sport, NASCAR has its superstars. It is important to review driver statistics such as number of races run, top 5 finishes, and top 10 finishes – for each track. Some drivers who only have average talent can still perform well on certain tracks just as some top drivers struggle at the same tracks every year. It is important know your driver’s history so you will know if betting on him will offer you value or not.

Tracks: NASCAR has 4 distinct types of tracks, Short, Intermediate, Superspeedway and Road Course. Not all drivers do well on all track types. It is important to research a driver’s history on a specific type of track before placing your bets. You want to be especially careful when handicapping NASCAR’s road races because there are very few drivers who consistently perform well on road courses.

Crews: This is often an overlooked aspect of NASCAR handicapping. Some of NASCAR’s races can last in excess of 5 hours. Knowing who has a strong Crew Chief and pit crew is imperative to betting successfully.

Many outsiders believe that NASCAR is just Full Throttle and left hand turns. However, the experts know that it’s a combination of many little things that get a car to victory lane.

Financial Benefits to Betting on NASCAR

Yes, it’s true! Compared to other sports, there are many financial benefits to wagering on NASCAR.

NASCAR betting is quite favorable and attractive to bettors due to the large payouts one can receive by simply picking the Race Winner. Odds on the most popular drivers start at 4/1, which means that a single winning NASCAR bet can pay for your next four, or more, bets. This is much better and potentially more lucrative compared to the regular 1/1 payout that bettors of NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. typically experience. Here are a few more reasons:

There are No “Favorites”: NASCAR odds to win bets are always underdog (+) bets and even the drivers who oddsmakers feel are the strongest competitors for a particular race will start at least at 3/1 or 4/1 underdogs.

There is Time to Build a Bankroll: NASCAR wagering has a very high break-even point compared to other sports. This means that you can make several weeks worth of losing wagers without fear of getting buried because, in most cases, it will only take 1 race win to cover your losses in 5 or more races, depending on the line of the winner you select.

Same Competitors, Same Tracks: Because a NASCAR career can span decades, it’s relatively easy to get a handle on the competition in a short period of time. Also aiding in your handicapping is the fact that, with a few exceptions, NASCAR visits the same tracks year after year so you can use this historical information to make very accurate race predictions from season to season.

Types of NASCAR Bets

There are several different types of NASCAR bets available for each race including:

Odds to Win: This particular bet is the most simple and most popular. Simply pick the driver you think will win the race.

Matchups: This bet is offered for the Qualifying run and the actual race. It pairs two drivers together with one being the favorite (-) and one being the underdog (+). To win this bet you need to select the driver you believe will either qualify higher or finish the race higher.

Top Finishing Driver: This wager is similar to a Match Up bet but offers higher odds by setting a pool of drivers to pick from. To win this bet, the driver you select must finish higher than all the other drivers in the pool.

Manufacturer to Win: This is another very simple wager. Place a bet on which car maker (Ford, Dodge, Chevy or Toyota) will finish first in a particular race.

Manufacturer exacta: Those who have ever bet a horse race will recognize this term. To win this bet, you must pick the manufacturer of the first AND second place finishing cars in the correct order of a particular race.

> Learn the Betting Basics for NASCAR! provides sports betting rules, basics, advice, systems, and strategy, online for free, covering NFL Football, NCAA college basketball, NBA, pro MLB baseball wagering from gambling experts.

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Nascar Nationwide Series: Carl Edwards Obtains His First Victory

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Carl Edwards has recently become the winner of the Nationwide Series, which took place last Saturday at the Michigan International Speedway. This was the nineteenth victory for Roush Fenway Racing team in Michigan, but the first so far in the series.


Both favorite drivers to win the competition Stewart and Edwards began the competition in good shape and Edwards who was driving the Roush Fenway Racing’s Ford headed without problems during the 125 laps required at the two miles track.


“I am so happy to have won. We had been so close before. I do not know how we were able to win over Tony. He was very fast. The car was genial during the whole day”, stated Edwards after finishing the race”.


This is Edwards’ third victory of the year in the Nationwide Series, but during this race Edwards was ahead for the most laps and a time difference of 3,5 seconds ahead of Vickers. Unfortunately for Efland he crashed at the starting of the final lap and only managed to finish the race with the yellow flag.


On the other hand, Vickers himself stated that he left sad as despite of his constant efforts and hard work to win one of the races he has not been able to be successful at it, perhaps he also needs to bit of luck to his favor.


There is also a question regarding the efficiency of the vehicles driven by Edwards (Ford) and Vickers (Toyota). Vickers believes there is a manner of the machines’ power involved and the technology implemented by both teams.


Another driver who had a good weekend was Tony Stewart who finished third in the race followed by Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and the 18 year-old rookie, Joey Logano. 


By the end of the present season Stewart will become the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and owner, he is very pleased with his decision as well as the way he has been performing during this campaign. His new project will be very demanding and he is looking forward to a new beginning. He has won a total of five races and he is already a strong candidate for the upcoming competitions.


The highlight of the race was the crash of Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann in the final part of the race but there was no need for medical assistance. Edwards has to his account a total of 16 victories and 113 points just behind Bowyer. Keselowski who finished in the eleventh position has a total of 132 points. Now, all drivers are heading to Bristol next week for the decisive race.


Nevertheless there are always questions and doubts about the drivers, the vehicles, the mechanical teams, and the strategies used on the track but that is the way Nascar racing unveils its good and bad moments. One thing is certain and that is we will see more action throughout the remaining races and more new talents appearing every day.


By: Toyota USA Blog

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Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Biffle Adds Another Victory

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For the second consecutive time, Greg Biffle managed to advance in the final section of the Camping World RV 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway taking the victory and overcoming the leaders and favorites to win this particular competition. Biffle certainly surprised many of us with his brief running to grasp the title. 


The Nascar’s driver Biffle was able to closely drive for most of the race next to the race leaders, but at the point when there were only 15 laps remaining he competed against his teammate Matt Kenseth; this was a very exciting part of the competition as Biffle constantly tried to surpass Kenseth in each lap but Kenseth put up a good race but finally Biffle overcame him with an absolute win. 


On the other hand, Carl Edwards achieved a third place despite trying very hard to obtain a better place. He was then followed by Mark Martin in the fourth place driving a Chevy, and the two-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, arrived in fifth place. 


Among the top ten positions also were: Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Michael Waltrip. Eight of these ten drivers had previously competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, except for Martin and Waltrip. One driver that did not have a good performance as expected was Kyle Busch who ended the race in the 43rd position, which was the last place.


Despite the fact that it was a very splendid day for Nascar’s racing it was not such a good day for Busch neither David Gilliland as they both collided hardly against the retention wall. Another crash was that of Patrick Carpentier, which lost control of his Dodge in the first curve, striking the defense of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase contender, Carl Edwards.


Another driver Jeff Gordon showed his skills and speed while taking a privileged position along with Hamlin, Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Reutimann, Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.


During the 64th lap Joe Nemechek caused another yellow flag when his Chevy burst a front wheel and struck the external wall. Some other remarkable drivers who rose to top positions and finished seeded in the top ones were: Reutimann, Johnson, Bowyer, Burton and the race winner Biffle. Toyota’s AJ Allmendinge’s caused another yellow flag some laps later when hitting the retention wall. The sparks continued shortly after the yellow flag when Robby Gordon was put behind McMurray this certainly changed the race which at half point of the competition the Nascar driver Hornish crashed again in the 187th lap.


Another highlight of the race was the good performance and rising of the Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya who achieved a 17th place. He has also been improving race after race as he seems to be getting more comfortable with the vehicle he is now driving, he is one of those drivers that will sooner than later surprise us with an unexpected victory in the short run.

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Nascar Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship

Racing events send nerve-racking action and excitement. This is why NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturers’ championship is keeping racers and aficionados agitated at the same time excited. The emotions build up and it is expected to heighten in the afternoon of May 26 at the Mansfield Motorsports Park, where the momentous event will be held.

On the lead is Toyota with 48 points followed by Chevrolet and Ford, both with 33. On the fourth place is Dodge with 18 points. Last Saturday, Tundras led a total of 29 laps with lap leaders including Mike Skinner (21), Todd Bodine (one), and Allmendinger (seven). Allmendinger earned his career-best NCTS finished second, driving the No. 00 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Tundra for Darrell Waltrip Racing.

Skinner retained the NCTS points lead with his eighth place finish. He leads fellow Tundra driver, Bodine, by 81 points. “Under the circumstances, it was a pretty good finish for our team. We hurt ourselves a little bit in the pits, but we were able to salvage a top-10 run. With about 40 laps to go, we came out of the pits with a bad vibration, and were lucky to catch another caution because those tires weren’t going to make it the rest of the way,” said Skinner, the driver of No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing.

Skinner added, “It’s hard to points-race knowing we had a truck that could’ve competed for the win, but that’s the breaks sometimes. We were on a roll early in the season and have showed a lot of speed throughout the year, so this finish isn’t too bad. But, as a team, we’re better than this. We know we have a chance to win every week.”

“This is all a credit to the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team because they had a lot of work to do after the spin in practice this morning. The truck was awesome tonight, but Ron (Hornaday) was just a tick better. If he would have made a mistake there at the end, I was going to be all over him. His truck was so good getting into the corners and mine was so good getting off the corners, basically he would stretch it out going into the corners and then I would match it coming off. I knew by ourselves, without him making any mistakes, it was going to be tough to get around him – but with two to go, you never know,” said Allmendinger.

“I think that last green-white-checker was bad for us because with that last yellow, we had broken away from the other guys and I was going to use that cushion to try to work on him. But it took my truck a few laps to really get going and with that last restart, I was really concerned with Todd (Bodine) and the veteran, Mark Martin back there,” Allmendinger added. “This gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow night. After the year we’ve had, being close and making mistakes – this had shown probably a lot of people including myself that in a good truck, we can be competitive.”

Todd Bodine, the driver for No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota Tundra, who finished third, has this to say: “We had a good run. We were a little too aero-tight there at the end and we’ve been trying some different things on our set-up and trying to learn from those things. I think we’ll be alright with them over time. The team gave me some great pit stops tonight and they’ve all had a long day, but to come out of here with a third place finish – we’ve had a good day. We had the white helmet on in the truck tonight and we got a good finish so we might have to try the white helmet again and see how things work out.”

“The truck came around there toward the end, but the track position meant so much because when you’re back in the pack with these hard tires it’s really hard to pass. We tried to make the best of it and it kind of got down to desperate times there at the end. We got a top-five for Team ASE and we’ll move on from here and learn from this one,” intimated Musgrave, No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing.

After three years in the race, Toyota is ready to chase the crown. This is why the Japanese automaker is sending its powerful Tundra with high hopes to accomplish said milestone. The pickup may not have the Toyota Celica lowering kit to boost maximum street performance but Tundra is powered by its superb “race-truck” attitude to dominate the track.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series transporters will participate in a parade through the city of Mansfield before parking at Mansfield Motorsports Park. The parade will begin at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Sears at Richland Mall. The transporters will proceed to Park Avenue W in downtown Mansfield for the Street Festival from four to eight in the afternoon before heading to the race track.

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Toyota Joins Ny Marathon Fuse

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A runner will not probably want to encounter a car, but Toyota hood protectors maker, Toyota, targets to have close encounters with thousands of runners in two marathons that will take place on the streets of New York.

In order to become an exclusive auto sponsor at both the ING New York City Marathon and the NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike, the giant Japanese automaker has signed a three-year deal. Financial terms were closed and the company will feature its hybrid platform, including the Prius, Highlander SUV and Camry Hybrid, through regional TV and print, on- and off-course signage as well as operational usage such as transporting athletes and officials. Aside form a money prize, both the men’s and women’s winner at the ING New York City Marathon will receive a Prius.

The alliance will activate in support of the NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike which will take place on August 5. The ING New York City Marathon will be happen on Nov. 4, and the previous car sponsor was DaimlerChrysler’s Smart micro compact in 2005.

Bryan Riss, Toyota’s vehicle operations manager for New York region said that Prius is their glamorous hybrid and it gets the most attention from the Hollywood crowd but they want to support their whole hybrid line. He added that Toyota’s long-term plan is to have a hybrid for each model the company builds, and that this alliance will help make more consumers aware of their hybrids. Also sponsoring the New York Marathon is Avis and said it would include Prius as a car rental option starting this summer.

Ann Hinegardner, svp-business development and marketing strategies at New York Road Runners, which monitors both marathons and several other running events year-round, said that the car category is very important to the marathon, and signing Toyota is in line with their commitment to the environment as well as to health. According to her, Toyota plans a full activation now through November.

Tour’s Third Time

The AST Dew Tour will have several new strategies in place as it enters its third season this week: Louisville, Denver and San Jose have been replaced by Baltimore, Salt Lake City and Cleveland as tour stops; MTV has been added to the media mix; and the tour name itself has changed from the Dew Action Sports Tour but Pepsi’s Mountain Dew remains title sponsor and all lead sponsors at the five venues are back.

The schedule began with the Panasonic Open in Baltimore in June 21-24 and runs through the PlayStation Pro in Orlando on October 18 to 21 featuring top action sports athletes in BMX, motocross and skateboarding contesting for points and monetary prizes.

Wade Martin, president and general manager at the AST Dew Tour, Aurora, Ill, said that this was the first part of their strategy to build AST [Action Sports Tour] as an umbrella brand that will be comprised with other events. He added that they want AST to become what NASCAR is to its fans and consumers. Martin further said that AST has plans include a U.S. winter action sports tour and global events.

Outlets such as NBC and USA Network (event coverage), Fuel TV (previews and reviews), FSN radio, VOD in a potential of 30 million homes and iTunes will be the avenues through which the tour will reach people. Two behind-the-scenes shows and features prior to each tour event are new this year on MTV and MTV2. Attendance last was about 250,000, which is up 15,000 from the inaugural tour. The AST Dew Tour is owned by NBC Universal and Live Nation.

Martin said that the challenge in their 3rd year will be the same challenge in their 10th year that is getting more people to attend in person, watch or access the events and support their sponsors. The Right Guard Open (Cleveland, July 19-22), Vans Invitational (Portland, Ore., Aug. 16-19) and the Toyota Challenge (Salt Lake City, Sept. 20-23) are other tour stops.

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Ford’s Luck in Nascar May be Changing

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At the beginning of the season, few people expected that Chevrolet teams will completely dominate team running Ford, Dodge and Toyota cars. But the early goings of the season saw Chevrolet almost sweeping the top ten in every race. In fact, from the first points race of the season until the Pocono 500, the fourteenth race of the season, only one non-Chevy team has won a race.

That win came at the Auto Club 500, the second points race of the season which was held at the California Speedway. Matt Kenseth driving his Number 17 Ford Fusion won the race for Roush Fenway Racing. After that win though, it was all Chevrolet and it seems that Ford as well as Dodge and Toyota are being totally dominated by Chevrolet teams.

During the past four races though it seems that Ford’s luck is changing as they have won two out of the four races. Dodge has one win and Chevrolet has one. Jamie McMurray recorded Ford’s third win of the season at the Pepsi 400. Aside from winning the race, five Ford drivers made it to the top twelve which means that Ford is slowly gaining on Chevrolet teams.

All three Ford wins are from teams owned by Roush Fenway Racing. Team owner Jack Roush says that the team has underperformed at the start of the season since they have misjudged the amount of time that their competitors are going to spend on testing their vehicles. NASCAR is currently studying whether their testing policies are still being observed and ensures fairness among teams.

The next race of the season will be the USG Sheetrock 400 which will be held at the Chicagoland Speedway. Going into the nineteenth race of the season slated for Sunday, Ford is finally looking as a tough competitor to the Chevrolets fielded by competing teams. Although sharing the same body structure to ensure fairness, the performance of Ford and Chevrolet NASCAR cars vary due to their setup and whatnot. The revitalized Ford teams are now fielding cars which can outrun a Ford hubcap-equipped road bound Ford Fusion.

“The big thing that has helped us with the Car of Tomorrow is we now have a test team,” said Roush explaining their recent resurgence. “We are doing the things I thought we weren’t going to be allowed to do when NASCAR told us we couldn’t take tires from the racetrack because they didn’t want us to test. I thought they would put teeth in that, but they didn’t.”

“We got behind. But five weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer (for testing). We’ve been to Iowa, Milwaukee four times in the last month, and Road Atlanta and VIR (Virginia International Raceway).”

The three wins posted by Roush Fenway Racing came at races where the current template for cars is used. But in order for them to be a real threat to Chevrolet teams, they have to perform well at Car of Tomorrow (CoT) races. The CoT template will be the only template that will be used for the next season and Ford is still working on improving their CoT.

“We’re not caught up yet,” said Roush pertaining to the CoT. “But we’re certainly on the path, and we’ll be heard from more before the year is over.”

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The Basics of a Nascar Nextel Cup Race Car

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Americans have been known for their many passions which includes speed. This apparent need for speed has led to the creation of motor races which have been attracting Americans year after year. While the sport may not seem as physical as other sports such as baseball, football, and basket ball, a huge number of Americans are supporting sports based on the speed of automobiles. And when one speaks of car race, the first thing that comes to mind is the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

The said championship series has captured the imagination of millions of Americans who are known for their attraction to speed contests. The United States is also undoubtedly the biggest market for automobiles in the world which is a reason for the love of automobiles shown by Americans. As popular as the Nextel Cup Series may be, there are still a large number of people who are still in the dark what this sport is about.

Basically, the Nextel Cup is a series of races where the best race car driver, as judged by the number of points received during the duration of the entire series of races is crowned as the champion. The motorsport can be traced back to the days when races are between “strictly stock” cars or cars which have not been modified in any way. During those early days, one can bring a car to the tracks and race it.

Today though, the race cars used in the Nextel Cup Series are tailor made for racing. Although teams can tinker with their cars to make it better than the competition’s, NASCAR imposes rules to keep the cars equal. This year, four car brands have their vehicles racing at the series. These are Ford, Dodge, Toyota, and Chevrolet. The latter has been dominating the current series by winning nine of the last ten races.

While a NASCAR Nextel Cup race car can be modified for racing, they must have three stock parts from manufacturers. These three parts are the roof, the trunk lid, and the hood of the cars. Aside from these three parts, the chassis, the drive train, suspension, steering, and other systems can be modified to make the car so as to be suited to the demands of high speed operations. In fact, aftermarket parts such as the Pacesetter exhaust parts can be used by these race cars. While these systems can be tinkered with, NASCAR set some rules that each team must meet including the weight of the race car.

Currently, the weight set by NASCAR for race cars is 3,400 pounds. Another rule is that the distance between the front and rear wheels should also be uniform on all race cars which would compete in the Nextel Cup Series. The wheelbase of all race cars should be 100 inches. The fuel capacity of these race cars are also controlled by NASCAR. For most tracks, the mandated fuel capacity is 17.5 gallons. All race cars entering the contest should have the same fuel type which is 110 octane unleaded fuel as ruled by the sport’s sanctioning body. The cars’ top speed also has a limit which is set at 235 miles per hour.

For a car to be permitted to race at the Nextel Cup Series, its engine should conform to the rules set by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR. For instance, electronic features are not permitted and instead, mechanical parts are used. This keeps the costs from ballooning for the benefit of teams competing in the races. Engines allowed to be used on race cars competing in the Nextel Cup Series should have eight cylinders with combustion chambers measuring 358 cubic inches. To keep the cars equal power output is set at a maximum of approximately 750 horsepower.

An interesting fact about these race cars is their headlights. Since these cars are raced only during the day, they do not need to have a pair of headlights. The actual headlights that we see in front of these cars are in fact decals which look realistic enough to fool the unknowing person. Another interesting fact about these race cars is that they have to meet a number of templates that NASCAR is using to make sure that the shape of the cars is almost uniform. The tires used on these cars have no tread on them which is the reason why the Jimmy Stewart 400 was postponed due to the rain that poured during the event. The absence of treads on the tires of these cars makes them impossible to race in wet tracks. The tire compound used on these cars’ tire is harder than those used by other motorsport vehicles given the fact that these race cars significantly weigh more.

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Nascar to Implement Use of Cot Next Season

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In a tragic accident at the 2001 Daytona 500 cost Dale Earnhardt Sr. his life and the sport of stock car racing has lost one of its best drivers. After that disastrous incident, the governing body of the Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR, has worked on making the sport safer for drivers. They have implemented the use of head-and-neck restraints to protect drivers in the unfortunate case of crashes.

NASCAR also went to great lengths and is supervising the installation of soft walls around tracks. Most of all, the sanctioning body has worked on the development of a universal body template for all cars competing in the NASCAR races. The template is used to ensure equality among cars and to promote safety. The race car is called the Car of Tomorrow or CoT and it is designed primarily for the safety of drivers.

The original plan for the CoT is for it to be slowly introduced to NASCAR races and will be the sole car that will be used come the 2009 season. Recently though, NASCAR announced that the CoT will be used exclusively starting with the 2008 season. This announcement came after teams have expressed their concern about the impracticality of maintaining two different cars for the current season and for the next year.

Robin Pemberton, the NASCAR’s vice president of competition, has this to say about the full implementation of the CoT next season: “We are proud of how the new car has performed at multiple tracks. NASCAR, with the support of team owners, agreed that the new car is ready to compete at all NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events in 2008. Beginning next year the Car of Tomorrow is officially ‘the car,’ a Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota.” Originally, NASCAR planned to race the CoT for only 26 races next season. But due to the cost of maintaining two cars, the current car and the CoT, team owners and drivers alike are keen to the idea of using the Car of Tomorrow full time for the 2008 season. These cars are deemed safer than passenger cars, even those equipped with Powerstop brake parts.

As for the driver-friendliness of the Car of Tomorrow, drivers have been expressing their willingness to race the CoT full time next season. Jeff Green, one of the drivers who seem to be at ease with the CoT, has this to say: “As far as the racing, to me the COT puts things back into the driver’s hands more. With the cars we’re using now, either you hit the setup or you miss it. If you miss it, there’s not a lot a driver can do to make up for that. With the COT, even if the setup’s not perfect, a driver can still make things happen and have a good run. It reminds me of the way the cars drove six or seven years ago. I like that, and I’m excited to get back to that.”

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Will Dodge’s Exit From the Nascar Truck Series Create a Void?

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Recent news that Dodge would no longer support the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is strongly suggesting that America’s number three automaker is seriously reconsidering every single one of its marketing and publicity ventures. The NASCAR exit shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in light of the automakers’ big losses and huge need to raise capital.

But, Dodge’s departure from NASCAR does shine the light on what could be additional changes to the motorsports industry: cash strapped Ford and GM might also be looking at ways to trim nonessential expenses, turning the Dodge void into a gaping hole, one that could threaten NASCAR’s survival or at least its broad appeal.

Dodge’s parent, Chrysler LLC, hasn’t been a big player in the truck series of late, supporting only one team, Bobby Hamilton Racing. The automaker is well represented in both car series, winning several races this year while accumulating numerous top ten finishes. Still, even in auto racing Toyota, GM and Ford dominate, lavishing their teams and cars with cash in a bid to pull down more wins each year.

There is another matter which could create a gaping hole in the motorsports industry that no one is talking about yet. The Big 3 automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler – are pursuing what amounts to be a $50 billion low-interest loan package from the federal government to help the automakers transition their product lines from trucks and SUVs to small cars.

That plan is working its way through Congress and is expected to gain widespread partisan support and end up on the president’s desk for his signature. Though President Bush hasn’t tipped his hand yet on whether he’ll approve the legislation or not, the legislation could be delayed until the next president takes office in January 2009.

What isn’t known is what Congress will demand in return for low cost loans. Some analysts are speculating that Congress will require that the monies fund specific programs, including hybrid vehicles and alternative powered engines and related technology. A handful of people are thinking that Congress may use the loan guaranty as a way to force the automakers to divest themselves of unrelated programs which, conceivably, could include NASCAR participation.

Regardless of the strings attached, additional changes are coming which will shape the future of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler LLC. A NASCAR truck series departure for Dodge may not sound like a big deal, but it underscores the financial difficulties found in America’s auto industry and the political help needed to see the companies through these difficult times.

By: Toyota USA Blog