Toyota talking to teams about joining manufacturer for next season
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told NASCAR Talk on Sunday that the manufacturer does not have any deals with additional teams for next season but is “talking to a couple of teams.’'
Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser told NASCAR on NBC’s Marty Snider before Sunday’s race that a manufacturer switch is a very real possibility and would like to get such a deal done in the next month or two.
If Furniture Row Racing switched manufacturers, Toyota would seem to be the logical place for the team to move.
“We’d definitely be open to (adding Furniture Row),’' Wilson said before Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I’d said consistently, particularly with this new Chase format, we could use a couple more quality cars. It’s not about numbers. We’ve got to have quality. We could expand as early as next year if the circumstances present themselves.”
Toyota currently supplies six engines (between Michael Waltrip Racing’s two cars and Joe Gibbs Racing’s four). Wilson said the manufacturer ultimately would like to have eight to nine teams, so it could qualify five to six for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Wilson said Toyota likely would need to decide by mid-September if it wanted to add a team for next season but added the manufacturer also was considering deals that would begin in 2017.
“Because (every team) is structured differently, some of it is looking out at 2017,” he said. “The challenge (is) we have this stable of young drivers, and we need to make sure we can keep Toyotas underneath them. It’s not good enough to look at just one year out. You need to look at three to five years out and try to position yourself as best you can.”
Furniture Row Racing has had a resurgence this season with Martin Truex Jr. winning one race (Pocono) and ranking fifth in the points before Sunday’s race. Furniture Row Racing made history by becoming the first single-car team to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2013 with Kurt Busch. The team is in place to make the Chase for a second year.
Visser said last month on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he was considering a manufacturer switch because “there just doesn’t seem to be any money out of General Motors and probably never will be for us.’'
A move to Toyota would give the manufacturer a third winning organization, joining Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing.
Should Furniture Row Racing leave Chevrolet, it also will end its alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Furniture Row Racing gets technical knowledge from RCR and its engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines.
Team owner Richard Childress said that should Furniture Row Racing and Visser leave the alliance, he’ll move on.
“Just like I tell all my people, we’ll find new revenue,’’ Childress told NASCAR Talk earlier this month. “In business, you look for revenue. It’s a great alliance. Barney has a been a great customer, is a great customer. We’d like to see it go on, if for whatever reason he wants to go to Toyota or Ford or another Chevrolet manufacturer ... then we’ll find other revenues somewhere else.’’