Toyota officials on Thursday said that the “destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan will not have an immediate effect on Toyota's business with NASCAR,” according to David Newton of ESPN.com. Toyota Racing Development USA President Lee White said that “fewer than 10 percent of the parts used by Toyota in NASCAR" come from Japan, and that "there is an adequate safety stock to make it through most, if not all, of the season.” White: "We're not in a panic mode for those particular parts, although they are critical parts. We do have alternative vendors in the United States and western hemisphere." He added that “every Toyota in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series will carry an American Red Cross emblem this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.” White: "Our No. 1 primary concern is the humanity aspect of it. We have friends there. We have associates there. My daughter-in-law's family lives southwest of Tokyo. A lot of us have personal interest in what is going on there beyond racing. It is tragic, unbelievable" (ESPN.com, 3/17).
TIME ON THEIR SIDE: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes “six months remain before the Izod IndyCar Series is scheduled to race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan, and officials are in no hurry to decide if the event will have to be canceled.” The track is “located only a few hours from some of Japan's most battered coastal areas, and media accounts have most of the country affected.” IndyCar Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said, "There is some damage to the track, but they don't think it's very severe. ... Right now, we're hoping everyone is OK and later we'll worry about the event” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/18).