Roush not backing down from Toyota comments, fight

Updated: January 26, 2007, 3:24 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR team owner Jack Roush said he is "going to war" with Toyota, expressing his ongoing concerns about the Japan-based manufacturer's entry into Nextel Cup this season.

"We will not be intimidated by any new team or manufacturer that comes in," Roush said. "Toyota will not find that established teams will wither in their path as they have seen elsewhere. We're going to war with them and they should give us their best shot."

Roush made his comments Wednesday during the media tour stop at Roush Racing. Roush owns the top Ford team in Cup. He has five full-time Cup drivers and has won two championships (Matt Kenseth in 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004).

Outside the Lines: Made in America

While Toyota's garage is bustling with nervous energy and excitement for the arrival of the Camry in Nextel Cup, not everyone is thrilled to have the foreign manufacturer on board. Today on Outside the Lines, Made in America, the controversy surrounding Toyota's 2007 Nextel Cup debut.

• Watch the OTL segment
• Outside the Lines index page

But Roush said he believes Toyota will outspend the other Cup manufacturers -- Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge -- and damage the balance of competition in the sport.

"Toyota could bring about changes in the way we conduct our business," he said. "They have deep pockets and the wherewithal to step outside the box and pay more for a service or technology than sound business practices would otherwise justify."

Roush continues to accuse Toyota of funding its three Cup teams at a much higher percentage than the other manufacturers.

"About 90 percent of funding for Cup racing comes from sponsors and 10 percent from the manufacturers," Roush said. "But if Toyota is funding 50 percent on its teams, that could upset the financial equilibrium of NASCAR and cause chaos."

Toyota officials have vehemently denied those allegations in the past.

"It's ridiculous," Toyota Racing Development vice president Jim Aust said in November. "I think people at Roush Racing are saying these things to get more money out of their manufacturers."

When asked why he was scared of Toyota, Roush replied: "Did I say I was scared? I don't back away from a good fight."

Roush said he is close to finalizing a deal with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for Henry to become a co-owner of the team. He said the deal could be completed by March. Roush said Henry would own between 25 and 50 percent of the organization, which might change the name of the team.

"The reason we may bring in a new investor is so we can stand the pressure of increased spending that Toyota will bring," Roush said. "I'm preparing myself for the siege."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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