Report: Toyota closing in on new 2015 Camry for Sprint Cup

Leave a comment

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That’s the case for the new design of the Toyota Camry for the 2015 Sprint Cup season.

According to Motorsport.com, the first design of the new Camry has been sent back by NASCAR for further revision and development.

But instead of major or radical changes to Toyota’s design, officials at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., are seeking tweaks rather than wholesale changes.

“We had a preliminary submission, but we have more work to do,” David Wilson, president/general manager of Toyota Racing Development, told Motorsport.com. “We’ve been working with NASCAR on the car. They give you the opportunity to see where you are and of course our objective is to get the most performance out of it as possible.”

Wilson believes it will only be a few more weeks before the manufacturer’s next submission to NASCAR is ultimately approved.

“We have to pass their submission criteria, so we’re going to have another go at it and hope to have that put to bed in the middle of August,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “Then we’ll unveil it to the public and get ready for 2015.”

If the tweaks are approved by NASCAR, the newly redesigned model could potentially make its debut at an upcoming test on Aug. 18 at Michigan International Speedway, one day after the Sprint Cup race there.

Like its manufacturing counterparts at Ford and Chevrolet, Toyota also is working on reducing power in its Sprint Cup motors for 2015 by a NASCAR-mandated 100 hp.

The redesign of the Camry, the third since Toyota entered NASCAR in 2007, has been underway for nearly a year. From indications, the new NASCAR version will be the closest to its production model counterpart seen in dealer showrooms that it’s ever been.

To date, Toyota has won 65 races in the Sprint Cup Series since its debut nearly a decade ago.

“We’re happy, very happy,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “We’re excited because the new Camry looks great and we look forward to getting it out on the race track because 2015 is going to be a big year for us because we pace the Daytona 500 again.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.