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A Brief History of TRD

Jul 16, 2008
Legend has it that after claiming victory over the Pharnaces in 47 BC, Julius Caesar addressed the Roman Senate, claiming, "Veni, vidi, vici", or, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Millennia later, the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) could very well say the same thing of every racing venue it has entered.

TRD first started in 1979 as a Toyota Motor Sales USA subsidiary in Costa Mesa, California. It was in charge of after market performance parts design and distribution for TRD Japan. It developed over the next 30 years to become a complete engine development through assembly operation. Their cutting-edge racing technology was in every high speed arena in every genre, stacking up wins and cementing the company's reputation. It was at first a slow climb to the top, but TRD's growth gained momentum in the early 2000s, and TRD engineers now design and build the V-8 Tundra and V-8 Camry engine for their respective Nascar series. In addition, they also do engines for factory-backed vehicles in Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR), National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the U.S. Auto Club Sprint Car and National Midget Car Racing Series, and the grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

By 1983, TRD joined forces with All American Racers (AAR), rolling out a Celica in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) road racing competition. Within six years, TRD-powered cars moved up to the GTP Class, the elite level of American road racing. Also in '83, Precision Preparation, Inc. partnered with TRD to build trucks for both real-world off-road and stadium competitions. Toyota trucks developed a taste for the dirt, taking multiple wins in the premier Baja 500 and 1000 events, as well as manufacturer's championship in the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group SCORE and CORR series.

The climb up the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) ladder began in 1996 for TRD, and it won its first Indy-car competition in June 2000 at the Milwaukee Mile, with Juan Montoya driving. Gil DeFerran won the mother of all American races, the Indianapolis 500, in 2003 while driving a TRD-powered Indy car.

Once that American milestone was reached, the next logical step was entry in NASCAR with the V-6 Celica Goody's Dash Program. By 2007, the V-8 Camry made its debut at the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series. The same year, Jason Leffler recorded the first TRD NASCAR win in the Busch Series at O'Reilly Raceway Park ending the series with a third place in points. David Reutimann's win at the Sam's Town 250 in Memphis helped land him in second place point finish in the series. Dave Blaney scored the Nextel Cup season best with a third place finish at Talladega.

TRD's success in the NASCAR series wasn't limited to stock cars. With a 2004 debut in the Craftsman Truck Series, TRD took the manufacturer's championship two years in a row (2006-07) and Todd Bodine took the driver's championship in '06.

Alongside such high profile venues as these, TRD USA has also had victories in the NHRA's Funny Car series with Jerry Toliver at the Pomona Winternationals; dominated at the 2003 Indy car series, winning 11 out of 16 races; won four Daytona Prototype Driver's Championships since the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series first started in 2004; won at the USAC Sprint Car and Midget Car Racing Series; and swept the 67th Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale Speeday. Dave Darland won the Midget event, and Bobby Santos took the Sprint Car.

TRD doesn't only mean Toyota Racing Development, although that is its official meaning. It also stands for "Top Results and Design.
About the Author
The author Jason Lancaster operates TundraHeadquarters.com, a web site with info, news, and reviews of Toyota Tundra accessories and Tundra parts.
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