Toyota’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams
have the full weight of TRD’s engineering
expertise and technology behind them.
In certain NASCAR circles, there’s a big
myth about Toyota. The myth is that
the automaker loves to throw money at
NASCAR. In truth, what it loves to
throw at NASCAR is technology.
In Salisbury, N.C., about 45 miles
north of Charlotte, TRD, U.S.A.,
operates a world-class race engineering
and team support center that has all
the technology its supported teams
could ever want, and then some.
On site in the 37,000sq.ft. facility are
an eight-post machine, shake and
pull-down rigs, a center
of gravity machine, a
simulator and much
more. It’s open for use
for anyone from late
model teams to Sprint
Cup teams and
everyone in between. Toyota teams can
book time and come in to work on their
cars with the help of TRD’s engineers.
“Part of our culture is about
participating.,” says TRD president
David Wilson (ABOVE). “We like to get
our hands dirty. Rather than stroke a
check, we like to use technology as our
principal currency. That allows us to
get directly involved. In many
instances, that’s a painful path to take.
There are days I’d prefer to write a
check, but that’s not what it’s about.”
Of course, it helps having talented
team members, too. All five Toyota
“factory” teams have drivers who’ve
either already won championships or, at
the least, gone to the final race of the
NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Chase at
Homestead-Miami Speedway with a
chance to take home the title.
“When you get driver/crew chief
combinations that have that belief in
each other, that makes sharing
information much easier,” say Dave
Rogers, the crew chief for Carl Edwards.
It does. And the results show it.
Gibbs, just trying to get the last little
details and upgrades on it before we got to
Charlotte Motor Speedway,” says Pearn.
For his part, Truex is pleased so far.
“It’s been a really smooth transition – I
think smoother than any of us thought,”
he says. “Barney had planned on running
the first 10 or so races and just being like
so-so and trying to figure things out –
maybe stumble a little bit until we kind of
got everything ironed out – but we came
out of the box strong at Daytona.”
One of the things that’s helped is that
team owners Gibbs and Visser are kindred
spirits, with much more in common that
Gibbs had with former Toyota team
owner Michael Waltrip.
“Everyone from Coach (Gibbs) to the
guys on the floor really just welcomed in
our team,” says Truex. “They said, ‘Here’s
how we’re going to do things. We’re going
to open the book. We’re going to share
everything,’ and that’s been a big part of
the reason we got off the ground so quick.”
And Truex believes the best is to come.
“We’ve learned a lot from those guys,
and hopefully as we get down the road
they’ll learn something from us, too, so it’s
been good,” he says. “It’s been working
really well so far, and it’ll get even better.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR.
“They said, ‘Here’s how
we’ll do things. We’re going
to open the book. We’re
going to share everything”
A key to Furniture
Row’s success has
been its working
relationship with its
JGR cousins (FAR
LEFT, Truex with
JGR’s Denny Hamlin).
After earning a
career-best fourth in
the Sprint Cup
standings in 2015,
Truex (LEFT) is
all but locked for
this season’s Chase.
how the program works.”
Of course, the benefits work both ways.
Truex wasn’t very good in the Sprint
All-Star Race. So after leaving Charlotte,
flying back to Denver and then coming
back to Charlotte again, Pearn was able
to put the finishing touches on Truex’s
race-winning Coca-Cola 600 car at the
JGR shop in nearby Huntersville, N.C.
“We actually came here and worked on
it until about 9 P.M. Wednesday night at