Toyota's newest edition of the Camry will serve as the Pace Car for the 2012 Daytona 500, season opener for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series and recognized as the most important race of the season.
The best-selling car in American for nine years, Toyota intends to present the seventh generation Camry in "The Great American Race" scheduled for February 26, 2012.
"We're thrilled to be able to feature the new Camry in Daytona at the season's biggest race," Ed Laukes, Toyota Motor Sales corporate manager of motorsport marketing said. "We think the Daytona 500 is the perfect place to showcase the all-new Camry," which goes on sale this fall. "We knew when the opportunity arose to partner with Daytona International Speedway, that it would be an extraordinary way to highlight our new Camry, as well as reinforce Toyota's commitment to NASCAR and its fans."
The first Camry went on sale in 1983 and has landed in more than nine million U.S. homes since that time. It's been the best-selling car in America for 13 of the past 14 years. This year is the 25th anniversary of Toyota Camry production in Georgetown, KY. The factory started production in 1986 and was joined in Camry production later by a Lafayette, IN facility.
The new Toyota Camry features a bolder, more sophisticated design that includes a more spacious interior, improved driving dynamics and an even more quiet ride than the previous edition. Toyota says its new Camry has class leading safety, fuel economy and multi-media technology.
Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway noted, "NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway provide a uniquely American platform for manufacturers to display their technology, innovation and overall automotive excellence. After nearly eight years of competing at NASCARs highest level, I'm pleased to have the 2012 Toyota Camry pace the 2012 Daytona 500."
Toyota has already provided pace vehicles at more thana dozen NASCAR tracks, including Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA), Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Dover, Infineon, Kansas, Martinsville, Phoenix and many more. Toyota entered NASCAR competition in 2004 with its Tundra truck in the Camping World Truck Series. In 2007, Toyota began competition in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series with its Camry.
Toyota earned three consecutive manufacturer's titles in Nationwide (2008-2010), one Nationwide title and 62 Nationwide victories - thus far. In Sprint Cup Series competition, Toyota has 38 first-place trophies. Kyle Busch, driving a Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, currently leads the Sprint Cup Series point standings and is the first driver locked into the Chase for the Championship playoff of 10 races, hoping to end the five-year reign of Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson.
© 2012 Anne Proffit