TRD facility in California. Credit: Toyota Racing

The future of the TRD program

The driver development program isn’t the only thing that will make Toyota a dedicated long-term partner within NASCAR. At Daytona International Speedway, Toyota became a founding partner of their “Daytona Rising” stadium project.

Situated right before the start/finish line, the Toyota Injector is one of five interactive areas that is on the frontstretch. Included are test drives with Toyota vehicles, race cars on display as well as information about Toyota on all four levels.

Outside of Toyota Injector at Daytona International Speedway. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Top five Toyota’s from the 2017 MENCS standings ordered by position. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Food benches are made from recycled Toyota Tundra tailgates that are padded. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Martin Truex Jr.’s 2017 MENCS Championship winning car from Homestead. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Denny Hamlin’s 2016 Daytona 500 winning car. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Replica nose of Space Shuttle Endeavour which a Toyota Tundra pulled. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Optical illusion within Toyota Injector that makes it appear you are balancing on a rope. Credit: Phillip Bupp


Toyota Camry that is half passenger car/half race car in order to show similarities and differences. Credit: Phillip Bupp

And since Toyota’s U.S. headquarters are based out of California, the early season West coast swing is huge for the company. Toyota went all out during NASCAR Goes West and their drivers had some fun in the western part of the country. Hailie Deegan, Christopher Bell and C.J. Greaves went off-roading in Toyota trucks outside of Las Vegas while Kyle Busch played around in the sand dunes of Glamis, CA.

After more than a decade in NASCAR, Toyota has gone from the newcomer to a well-rounded organization who is entrenched in the history of NASCAR in such a short period of time. Toyota is here to stay and they have put in a system that will allow them to be a viable asset to NASCAR for decades to come.

The more successful Toyota’s driver development system gets, the better chance Chevrolet and Ford will adjust their model to be similar to Toyota’s. When asked about the possibility and whether or not Toyota was worried about that happening, David Wilson welcomed the possibility because it would make the sport better and increase competition.

“I think every manufacturer should spend some time and resource on this,” Wilson said. “I believe Ford has started to do it a little bit, they’re doing some things that we’ve noticed. But that would be good, that would be good for the sport. That needs to be their decision and do it their own way.”

“Competition is always good. It makes everybody better.”

This is the future of Toyota and the future of NASCAR. For a sport that is rapidly changing and evolving, Toyota seems to be on the forefront of that change and is reaping the rewards. The first manufacturer who is able to crack the code in youth development will have a major advantage in all levels of NASCAR. Toyota has a massive head start and until others adjust and put more of a focus on finding the next great talent, Toyota will be the leaders for a long time.

[Photo: Toyota]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp