SBD/June 24, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: Toyota Could Suffer From Losing Red Bull Racing

White said Toyota likely would allow Red Bull out of deal after ownership change

Toyota Racing Development President Lee White said that the manufacturer's numbers "would suffer if it were to lose Red Bull Racing -- and not just in terms of its lineup size." Red Bull VP & GM Jay Frye "struck an optimistic tone this week that new owners could be found soon, but that wouldn't necessarily mean the team would stay with Toyota even though the contract runs beyond this season." White said that "legal representatives for Red Bull and Toyota were examining how their deal would be affected by an ownership change, but he indicated Toyota probably would let Red Bull out of the contract if it meant averting a shutdown." USA TODAY's Nate Ryan notes if Red Bull "exited the fold, Toyota would be left with six factory-supported cars and few prospects for signing more" (USA TODAY, 6/24). Frye would not disclose names of possible investors, other than to say that they are "outside of NASCAR and that some have ties with Red Bull that could lead to marketing or other business opportunities down the road" (ESPN.com, 6/22).

2013: A CUP CAR ODYSSEY: SCENEDAILY.com's Jeff Owens reported an "updated version of NASCAR’s new Sprint Cup car, which was introduced in 2007, is being planned for 2013 and is being designed to feature more manufacturer identity." Team Owner Jack Roush said, "My understanding is we will have the body work ready to start assembling the car in the next couple of weeks." Chevy and Ford "have yet to announce which brand their cars will look like, while Dodge will try to make its car look more like a Charger." Ford officials have indicated that they are "leaning toward a Mustang, which has been successful as the new Nationwide Series car that teams began racing full time this year." Roush said that he "expects the roof, deck lid, front fascia and the area around the wheel wells will be the same while the quarter windows, side panels, door sides, quarter panels and fenders will be brand identifiable" (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/23).

TRYING TO WORK IT OUT: JR Motorsports co-Owner Kelley Earnhardt said her Nationwide Series team still has "some cars that are unsponsored this year and then going into the next year, hopefully, everything will come together." Earnhardt: "It’s really a task selling the series, selling the Nationwide Series, getting people to want to spend the dollars that it takes for us to run in the series." Asked to elaborate, she said, "We’ve really got to find a way to cut the costs of our series so that it makes a little bit more sense for everybody. Or increase the winnings or something" (HAMPTONROADS.com, 6/23).

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