Toyota finds big return in Indy's drag racing scene

September 2, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Toyota would appear to be an odd entrant in a drag race.

Yet they’ll be one of the most active car makers at this weekend’s Mac Tools U.S. Nationals NHRA race this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont.

While a Toyota Camry will be featured in the Funny Car division and the Japanese automaker is the associate sponsor of five teams, there’s more to the company’s interest in drag racing than beating the American car makers that have dominated the sport for decades.

“We’re out here largely because of what goes on behind the track,” said John Porcida, Toyota Motorsports spokesman. “Certainly we want to win on the track, but the expo area during a drag race is really where we see a lot of our return on investment.”

Procida said Toyota will be at Lucas Oil Raceway in force with various makes and models of their newest passenger cars and trucks. The behind-the-track action is so important, Procida said, Toyota usually spends more on its expo efforts than it does on its teams.

Toyota, however, is realizing such a great return on its investment from its NHRA involvement, company officials said Toyota is considering expanding its efforts on the track. Procida said one of the big attractions to the NHRA is the ability to reach a different audience than it could with either the IndyCar Series or NASCAR.

Involvement in NHRA is usually costs sponsors 10 percent to 25 percent of the $10 million to $30 million a sponsor will invest in a NASCAR campaign, motorsports business experts said. A chassis or engine maker in either the IndyCar Series or NASCAR can spend tens of millions in testing alone, a fraction of what it costs to get into drag racing.

“A drag race is an all-day event,” Procida said. “There’s a fair amount of time between races. That sends a lot of people cruising through the expo area. At a NASCAR race, people might come through the expo area for 45 minutes or an hour. At a drag race, it’s not uncommon for people to spend four or five hours in the expo area.”

In addition to the vehicles, Procida said Toyota will have auto simulators on which fans can test their driving skills, and a number of other entertainment elements to their display.

Of course, Toyota is not alone. There will be dozens of companies showing off their wares and other entertainment options this Labor Day weekend during the NHRA biggest race. While the NHRA doesn’t disclose attendance at its races, motorsports sources said more than 90,000 people will attend the event Friday through Monday.


Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.