drag racing, the biggest participant lines could be found trackside,
waiting to take two hot laps in the passenger seat with current Toyota
sponsored NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Jack Sprague and Mike
Skinner. Skinner was the first ever NCTS champ back in 1995 and he’s
currently leading this year’s standings
with three wins.
and Skinner drove identical fire engine red Infineon Raceway Toyota
Tundra D-Cab Pace Trucks, modified
with 22-inch Toyota Racing Design (TRD) rims, high performance 285/45R22
Toyo Proxes S/T rubber, TRD dual exhausts, 16-inch TRD front-brakes,
and a non-Toyota suspension kit. The twin 5500-lb pickups, and their
naturally aspirated stock 5.7-liter i-Force V8s, hit speeds up to 110-mph
challenging and technical racetrack while the
two professional racers played aggressively fun cat and mouse games
around every turn and straightaway on the course.
hard braking around the track's tight corners and S-curves raised temperatures
on the Tundras’ 13.6-inch
rear brakes some 200 degrees-F more than the front TRD calipers - their
larger surface area keeping them cooler while slowing these behemoth
racers. Every ten runs or so the trucks were brought in for pits stops
to swap tires and change fluids before they were sent back to the track
for additional go-rounds.
exception of the suspension kit – third-party because
TRD is still testing the final spring, shock, and stabilizer package
for the Tundra – all Pace Truck components can be purchased and
installed today at the Toyota dealer where a new Tundra is bought.
enthusiasts looking to modify more than just suspension and exhaust components,
it’s expected that TRD will sell superchargers for
all three Tundra motors by the end of 2007.
to Karey Keenan, Toyota’s Accessory Sales Manager who was on
hand at the event, “TRD is shooting for the end of the year to
deliver the supercharger for the 5.7-liter V8, while it undergoes final
emissions testing. The other two engines (4.0-liter V6 and 4.7-liter
V8) should have superchargers available earlier in the year.”
also says, “These engines are for true enthusiasts. They’re
going to cost around three to four-thousand dollars.” But
for that price, on the 5.7-liter V8, enthusiasts can expect to see horsepower
and torque figures move up into the mid-400s, and you can keep your Tundra’s
entire powertrain warranty if the TRD blowers are dealer-installed. Third-party
or self-installed superchargers will come with either a 12-month / 12K-mile
warranty or until the standard 60-month / 60K-mile powertrain warranty
expires, whichever is less.
the Tundra Prove It! tour actually prove it for potential buyers? It
we spoke with told us that he had already sold his 2003 Ford F-250
Super Duty 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel three-quarter ton truck and
was ready to buy the new half-ton Tundra with the 5.7-liter gas engine
as soon as he could figure out which color he liked best at the event.
He told us that the Tundra could pull the same boat he used his Ford
pickup to tow, but it was like a sports car when it wasn’t
attendee and his father said the Tundra was “pretty cool” but that they were going to wait to buy
until they could be sure of its long term durability.
what about Travis Barker, Blink-182’s former drummer, who showed
up on the sly at the event without anyone from Toyota recognizing him? The
punk rocker and avowed Cadillac enthusiast - he even sports a crested
wreath logo tattoo on his chest - was a big attraction at the 2006
North American International Auto Show when he beat the skins on
the Cadillac stand to help introduce the 2007 Escalade.
Barker was keeping opinions to himself but he wore a smile as he exited
the door of the Tundra Pace Truck he’d just been hammered around
the track in.