Joe Gibbs Racing drops Chevy for Toyota in ’08 NASCAR season

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Toyota has just raised its profile in NASCAR’s top racing series. For the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup (née NEXTEL Cup) season, Joe Gibbs Racing will trade in its Chevrolets for Toyota Camrys (or at least cars with Toyota Camry headlight and grille stickers decorating their noses). In terms of star power, it means that Toyota picks up some very big names in Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin. Stewart showed how receptive he was to the change by announcing plans to sign a contract extension with JGR that keeps him on the NFL coaching legend’s race team through the ’09 season.

In a piece he wrote for, Darryl Waltrip (whose brother Michael’s team also runs Toyotas) said that the deal is a boon for both Toyota and JGR, because the adoption of the Car of Tomorrow for the full season next year basically levels the playing field where the cars themselves are concerned. The engines will be the difference-makers on the technical front. Waltrip feels that Gibbs’ excellent engineering team will work wonders with the Toyota race engine, and that the JGR Camrys should be competitive right away. We’ll see how right or wrong he is on Sunday, February 17, 2008, when the green flag waves at Daytona.

Follow the jump for press releases from Toyota and JGR.

Thanks for the tip, Saimin.

[Sources: Toyota Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, NYT Wheels Blog, FOX Sports]

Continue reading Joe Gibbs Racing drops Chevy for Toyota in ’08 NASCAR season


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