Guess that puts the rumors to rest.Honda won't follow to NASCAR
BRANT JAMES, St. Petersburg Times
Published March 13, 2006
HOMESTEAD -- Honda's and Toyota's racing programs have seemingly followed each other from series to series and battled, sometimes at the expense of that series, for supremacy in trophies, technology and car sales.
But now Toyota is out of the Indy Racing League, established in the NASCAR Truck series and set to debut in Nextel Cup next year. And Robert Clarke, the president of Honda Performance Development, said his company is content where it is, as the lone engine supplier for the IRL.
NASCAR, he said, is not a consideration.
"Will we follow Toyota to NASCAR? I never say never. I've learned that in this business," he said during a national teleconference.
"But we have no immediate or near-term plans to get into (NASCAR). We are quite occupied with our activity in the IRL and (have) no plans for NASCAR."
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said when Toyota announced its Nextel Cup intentions in January that unnamed foreign-based manufacturers had visited races but "I don't know of any other that have made official inquiries."
Honda and Toyota are often lumped together as the embodiment of powerful foreign manufacturers, but their approaches are markedly different. Toyota, as the saying goes, is a car-selling company that races; Honda a racing company that sells cars.
So Toyota's involvement in NASCAR is intended to increase brand identity and move merchandise.
Honda's commitment to open-wheel racing allows it to hone the kind of in-car technology forbidden in NASCAR's old-school carbureted engines.