Toyota Announcement Coming

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The long-anticipated announcement of Toyota's entry into NEXTEL Cup racing is expected to come on Monday.

A press conference at NASCAR's Research & Development Facility in Charlotte will kick off next week's annual NEXTEL Cup Media Tour at which time Toyota's plans are expected to be announced.

Toyota entered the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004 and the manufacturer has used that experience to develop its NEXTEL Cup program. Toyota officials were present at this week's "Car of Tomorrow" test in Daytona.

SPEED Channel will carry Monday's press conference live at 12:15 p.m. (ET).

RacingOne will be in Charlotte for the media tour and will provide comprehensive coverage from the press conference as well as all the week's activities.

PARROTT FLIES
Crew chief Brad Parrott has left the Roush Racing No. 60 Busch Series car, which will again be driven in 2006 by Carl Edwards.

Parrott is not in Daytona for this weekend's Pre-Season Thunder Test Session for the Busch Series. Bob Osborne, Edwards' NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief, is working with the team during the Daytona test.

No word yet on why Parrott left Roush or the team's plans for a replacement.

UNLEADED FUEL COMING
NASCAR announced that a special unleaded fuel has been developed and will be used by the start of the 2008 season as a result of its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its fuel supplier, Sunoco.

“We’ve been back and forth to the drawing board for several years to find an unleaded fuel that is compatible with NASCAR engines. NASCAR congratulates Sunoco and is proud of the progress it made on developing a fuel that works in NASCAR engines,” said Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s vice president of research and development.

NASCAR tested a number of possible alternative fuels in recent years, but none that didn’t cause engine problems. NASCAR tested an unleaded product in the Busch Series in the late 1990s. However, the tests were unsatisfactory and required the sanctioning body to conduct further research. Other fuel solutions were incompatible and led to engine failure.

NASCAR began testing the current unleaded fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, last fall at its Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. The fuel will be used in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

JUNIOR ON THE AIR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will join XM Satellite Radio for a weekly show to be broadcast exclusively to XM's six-million-plus subscribers from coast to coast. Dale Jr.'s show will debut during the week of February 13 on XM's NASCAR Radio (XM Channel 144) during Daytona Speedweeks.

Earnhardt, Jr. will discuss the latest happenings on the NASCAR circuit, as well as music, video games and other personal interests on the wide-ranging show. Dale Jr. will also play a key role in various XM promotions as part of a multi-year agreement with XM.

RUSTY GOING INDYCAR RACING?
The retired Rusty Wallace looks like he'll be starting his anticipated broadcasting career sooner rather than later.

Wallace auditioned with ABC/ESPN's IRL crew last week and will most likely join the crew this season, before moving over to the networks' NASCAR announcing team in 2007.

Wallace would join new play-by-play man Brian Kenny, who will replace Todd Harris in 2006. Scott Goodyear joins Wallace in the booth with Jerry Punch, Jack Arute and Jamie Little serving as pit reporters.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2006

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