Toyota TMMK Post Event Notes & Quotes – Bowyer, Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, Truex, VickersBy Official Release
Prior to the start of the 2013 NASCAR season next week at Daytona International Speedway, a group of Camry NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) drivers visited Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) in Georgetown, a facility that produces the Camry, Avalon and Venza (on Wednesday Feb. 6).
Camry drivers Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers — joined by Toyota team owners Jodi Geschickter, Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip, as well as NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip — visited TMMK. The group toured the 7.5 million square-foot facility in Kentucky (equivalent to 156 football fields) — the largest manufacturing facility in North America and one of the largest in the world. Bowyer and Hamlin each drove a new Camry off the plants production line.
Following the facility tour, Toyota drivers conducted a Q & A session with team members at TMMK. High resolution images of the event are available for download at www.toyotaracingmedia.com.
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What was it like to drive a new Toyota Camry off the assembly line? It was really cool to be able to drive a Camry off the line. Somebody does that every 55 seconds and that is mind-boggling. Not only that, those are already bought cars. Those are pre-ordered cars that are already spoken for. That is whats insane, every 55 seconds somebody is signing their name to a brand new Camry somewhere in the United States and it all happens right here in this plant. Honestly, mind-boggling to see how extravagant the whole process is. What was it like interacting with Toyota team members working on the assembly line? We love them. This was an eye-opener for all of us. Of course, were proud of our brand, but being able to see what all goes into one of those Camrys being built makes us even prouder.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What was it like to see the Camry manufacturing facility? It was awesome — just being able to get a chance to see what all goes on behind the scenes and what the different Toyota team members do at these locations is a great experience. Its pretty unique — you see a roll of sheet metal show up and 20 hours later it comes rolling off the line as a vehicle. Thats impressive. What type of reaction did you get from the Toyota team members at TMMK? It was great to have that sense of hero feel that these people put on you, but they are the real heroes to me. They are the ones that are out here busting their butts each and every day working long hours and shifts and everything else to make these vehicles, they produce these vehicles, they come off the line, they go to the sales force and the guys sell them. They are the true heroes here that allow us to do what we love to do and race out on the race track to win on Sunday so they can sell on Monday.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What did you think of the Camry manufacturing facility? It was amazing to me. Ive gone through a FedEx hub and when I drove for Rockwell Automation, I saw how their factories worked and everything, but this is just another level. I was intrigued by the machinery and things like that. I like the mechanical side of it. And to see all the team members out there, they all know who their race car drivers are. When people talk about the 2013 car and who benefits from it and who gets excited, I think you look at the employees here and they are really going to be excited. What they work on everyday is now going to be on the race track. They can really identify with the car that they work on to the one that they are going to see at Daytona in a few weeks. I think its going to be really big for team moral here. What was it like to drive a new Toyota Camry off the assembly line? When the 2012 Camry came out — the new reinvented one — I went to Los Angeles for the unveiling of it so they cut to the video and I remember seeing this plant on that video so it was actually cool to drive a Camry off the line. Ive kind of done it all with Toyota now.
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Husky Tools/Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What did you think of the TMMK facility? Its really cool to come here to the plant and see all the workers that build these great vehicles. It was a really fun day for me and I really learned a lot. How do you think the 2013 Camry will fare in the upcoming season? I think for sure the Camry is the best looking one of the three and it seems to be the fastest so far as well. I think all the manufacturers and NASCAR did a good job working together to not only make a really, really good looking car that looks a lot like the car that you can buy off the showroom floor, but thats also going to perform well on the race track.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What were your thoughts on the Camry manufacturing facility? Its insane and unbelievable. I could not believe it and it was very eye-opening. A lot of things caught my attention as we went through there — the first was how clean it was. The second was just the sheer size of it. It is so big. The third was just how much was going on at one time. I dont even know if they know how many processes are going on at once, but its got to be over a million things happening at one time, which is just insane to think that people control all that. All those people have to be really proud when one of those cars comes out at the end because they do an excellent job. It shows with the quality of the cars they turn out. Very, very neat experience for me. This is the first time that Ive ever seen anything like it.
Obviously, this is one of the biggest and probably the best there is, so its cool to see it. How does seeing the 2013 production Camry built impact you racing the new 2013 Camry this season? This gives us a lot of respect for where the car comes from and what the car means. It also gives us a lot more information we can pass along to the fans about the Camry because thats what its all about. Were racing cars so they can sell cars and so the more we know about them, the better. Hopefully, we will help fans understand the cars better and be able to help sell even more so they can work three shifts here instead of two.
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aarons Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What did you think of the Camry manufacturing facility? It was amazing. The plant is incredible. To see a car roll off the production line every 55 seconds and how its done — I dont even think you appreciate it even when you hear it. When someone says they produce this many cars a day or a car comes off the line every 55 seconds — until you actually see what it requires to get a car to go from nothing to a car off the line every 55 seconds is really amazing. What impressed you most about the assembly line? The pride in what they do and the pride that they put into the cars they make, which if it wasnt for this facility and other facilities like it across the country then we wouldnt be on the race track. To see the pride they put in their work and the detail — the precision of what they do and how they work. The whole plant — how its organized and how its run, not just putting parts on cars, but the safety standards, the quality of the work environment — its amazing.