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Hybrid Toyota to Pace NASCAR Races

toyota-camry-nascar2Toyota figures to get more promotional mileage for its hybrid models now that the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race will feature a hybrid Toyota Camry as the official pace car.

And unlike the Ford Fusion hybrid that last season paced the green flag at the Sprint Cup Series finale in Homestead, Fla., the Toyota hybrid will be used throughout the race because it meets all the performance criteria, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

A pace car must be capable of reaching 100 miles per hour in about a quarter-mile, or from a stand-by position near the exit of pit road to the time it reaches the exit of turn 2.

Because the Toyota Camry meets that standard, it will be used in a total of six NASCAR races this year, according to the article. The car will appear at races at Charlotte, at Infineon Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Watkins Glen, N.Y., and the October race at Martinsville, Va.

NASCAR has taken steps recently to show its “greener” side.

At the 2009 NASCAR Media Tour, chairman Brian France said, “Fans are concerned about high fuel cost, global warming and energy independence. We recognize this must be one of our priorities moving forward,” according to Huliq News.

NASCAR has promoted SmartWay fuel-efficient vehicles in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally it worked with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association to develop the “Car Care Aware” program, which shows consumers how they can improve mileage and reduce emissions by properly maintaining their vehicles.

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