Roush makes waves for Toyota in NASCAR

Ford aligned NASCAR team owner Jack Roush has made his views clear about the entry of Toyota into the Craftsman Truck series in 2004. He told USA Today: "I really don't want to be seen as a guy who has laid himself down on the tracks and said we shouldn't have Japanese cars in stock car racing. But I do hope that NASCAR and the fans and everybody involved will take stock of what's good for our economy in their purchases."

Roush makes waves for Toyota in NASCAR

The NASCAR rulebook stipulates US-built vehicles. The Toyota Tundra is designed and built in Princeton, IN, and will compete in NASCAR's truck series next season. Toyota is expected eventually to move through the Busch series to the Nextel Cup.

Roush continued: "When we're faced with the prospect of having somebody come into our world, and strip our economy of its essence, and go convey that for interests that are abroad, then we're not doing the right things for our country." Roush is concerned that Toyota will spend so much money on its Craftsman Truck teams that Ford will have to abandon the series. "We're sitting with Ford right now trying to decide if we're going to race in the Truck series next year," he said.

Toyota's VP of motorsports, Jim Aust, issued a statement outlining Toyota's commitment to "creating new jobs and economic benefit" in North America. "Jack Roush is a respected and formidable NASCAR competitor, but it appears he has been misinformed about Toyota's positive business impact in the USA and our approach to the Craftsman Truck Series," Aust said. Approximately two of every three Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in North America are built there.

Aust concluded: "Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series programme won't lavish individual factory teams with big-dollar contracts."

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