Chief Unsure about Toyota Switch

NASCAR CEO Brian France has said he remains unsure about how soon Toyota will commit to the Busch Series, despite the Japanese car manufacturers' decision to withdraw from the Indy Racing League at the end of 2006

Chief Unsure about Toyota Switch

Toyota's announcement that it is pulling out of the IRL is believed to pave the way for the company to enter the Busch Series in 2007, prior to a full-on assault on the premier Nextel Cup - but France has said he has had no guarantees that Toyota will follow that path.

"Well, we've had ongoing conversations, in particular, because they are in the Truck Series and have done a really great job of coming in, competing hard and all the rest," he said.

"What their plans are beyond that, I don't know and I don't know what the IRL's departure means or doesn't mean. It's really their call. We are the biggest opportunity in the US by a wide margin in motorsports, and I know they have noted that and we'll just have to see what they decide."

NASCAR has a July 1 deadline for entries to next year's Busch Series, and France has said he has had no indications yet that Toyota are planning to make an early switch from their current racing activities in the Craftsman Truck Series.

"I just know that they are in NASCAR now," he said. "They really like what they have told us, how things are going in the truck series, and they are going to review the possible participation beyond that. It's complicated for them and they are going to take a look at it and I don't know any more than that or a timetable of when they are going to let us know."

When asked whether it was possible for Toyota to be given a deadline extension if they did choose to go Busch Racing in 2006, France said the ultimate decision rested with the carmaker.

"I don't know if they would go into the Busch Series, and they are very aware and they have done it," he explained. "They have already been through the system and through the path to get into NASCAR, they have already taken that path.

"They know what has to happen, and it's really they have got to make their own choices. It's complicated, team owners, they want to go in it the right way. I know they are studying it and they just have to come up with their plans, when they are ready to have an announcement."

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