CHICAGO --Toyota's 2014 entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will have a new look next season.
Longtime Toyota driver Kyle Busch helped unveil the new model year Tundra that will hit the track next season, showing off a blunt, redesigned nose to fans and media Thursday at NASCAR Contenders Live, a fan-driven event at Chicago's Navy Pier. The debut was another step in NASCAR's push to achieve a more similar look to automakers' road-going counterparts, but also a step toward greater brand identity.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made that step this season with the advent of the sixth generation (Gen-6) stock car, which has broken speed records 14 times in Coors Light Pole Qualifying this year. Thursday, it was the tailgate tour's turn.
"I'm really excited about it," said Busch, who has 33 career truck wins and brought Toyota its first triumph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "I think I've been a little bit of the face of Toyota because I've run so many races across all three divisions of NASCAR with the trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. For me, I love driving the trucks, they're a lot of fun, we're excited about bringing them to Chicago this weekend and being behind the wheel, but most importantly, Daytona 2014 driving this bad boy right here and seeing if we can get a win."
Les Unger, the National Motorsports Manager for Toyota, said that the 2014 street model Tundra was not radically different from its production predecessor, but that new styling cues in the bumper and grille help distinguish it. The race truck, though, is a whole new beast.
Having the team's winningest driver in NASCAR to help the new Toyota make its first appearance was a pleasant combination of circumstances.
"His team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, as well as two of our other teams, ThorSport and Red Horse Racing, they've all helped build the first prototype race truck and this is really the first opportunity we've had to put the vehicle on display," Unger said. "In terms of having Kyle here with part of the Chase, what better spokesperson because obviously, he runs the truck series, runs Nationwide and runs Cup, so he's pretty much a natural. It worked out pretty well for us."
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