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September 20, 2015

Jim Campbell

Ed Laukes

Dave Pericak


THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us on this, the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup here at Chicagoland Speedway. Joining us today are representatives from each of the manufacturers that will be vying for the championship in 2015.
We're joined by Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales USA. Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports for Chevrolet. And Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance.
Welcome, gentlemen.
We'll begin with a question to each of you and then open it up for questions.
First for Ed. Obviously a very incredible season to date, a record five Camrys in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. What does that success mean for Toyota so far in 2015 and headed into the Chase?
ED LAUKES: I think Toyota has come a long way since 2007. I can remember back in 2007 when we would really be struggling even to get into the show much less have five Camrys that would be in contention for a championship. It's a huge deal for our company. It's a huge deal for our team members, our assembly plants, our dealers.
I'm really excited this has finally come to fruition. It's time we get ready to get this deal on and go get a championship.
THE MODERATOR: Jim, Chevrolet has claimed more than half of the slots, 9 of 16 for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with your teams represented. What does that say about the strength and breadth of your program?
JAMES CAMPBELL: I just want to say we're really proud to be here. Last year at this point we had 8 Chevrolet drivers in the championship. This year it's 9. We're proud of that.
I think looking across all of the Chevrolet teams, from Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Stewart‑Haas, Furniture Row, every single one of those teams has at least one driver in the Chase. We don't have all our eggs in one basket. They're spread all across those teams. We've been working here for months to prepare for these last 10 races with our teams. We're excited to be here and ready to go this afternoon.
THE MODERATOR: Dave, I know at Michigan earlier this year you mentioned that Ford, you don't want to race just to race, you want to race to perform. When you take a look at the Chase field, it's hard to argue, Team Penske, with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, have performed quite well. Assess your chances heading into the final 10 races.
DAVE PERICAK: Definitely the Penske team has performed very well. Getting better and better with each week. It's easy to peak a little bit early, but I think we're going strong and very proud of the performance of that team.
Overall we struggled across all of our teams this year. We're going to be making the necessary changes to strengthen everybody's performance.
But extremely proud. We're going into the Chase with two very capable drivers, both of them championship‑level drivers. We feel very good about our opportunity. It only takes one to get to the end. We plan to get both into Homestead. We'll see how it goes.
THE MODERATOR: With that, let's open it up for questions.

Q. NASCAR has run a variety of rules packages this year, testing some stuff for next year. What would you like to see to produce the best racing in 2016?
ED LAUKES: Jim has been the most vocal on this subject so he's most qualified to handle this.
JAMES CAMPBELL: Listen, we're working hand‑in‑hand with NASCAR. Actually all of us are. We do this across all the series we race in with motorsports for Chevrolet. We're involved in five series. Every series we've worked with the sanctioning body as to how you get the racing as exciting and tight as possible.
Obviously the testing this year in NASCAR has been in actual races because there's been limited testing off of that aside from tire testing. Also when you go to do a specific test, it's hard to really simulate the in‑race activity.
I think there's been some really good learnings. Obviously the last 10 races of the Chase here we're back to the standard rules package for '15. The teams, as soon as they got a win, even if they were strong in points, a lot of them began really working on and preparing for the last 10 races.
I think stability in the rules package for the Chase for the championship makes sense given all the investment the teams have made.
I think that the commitment by the series to adjust the rules in kind of categories of tracks is something that's obviously under consideration. I think more to come.
I think the more we can get tight racing, the better, better for the fans that are actually watching at the track and on TV and online. We see it in every sanctioning body to how do you get the racing tighter, and we're excited to do that.
ED LAUKES: We've had success with all the different packages obviously. But I think the relationship between the sanctioning body, the drivers and the OEs has never been better as far as the discussion goes, trying to make the racing better. This is a product of all that.
DAVE PERICAK: I mean, we all want the same thing. We want better racing and we want to be as competitive as possible. I applaud NASCAR for taking the steps they are taking to figure out how to make it a better race.
At the end of the day, we pointed out, they've been very inclusive of the OEMs and of the teams. All the right things are happening to end up in the right place for 2016.

Q. Dave, you were talking about how you want to strengthen things going forward. Any potential for lineup changes? You have the fewest number of cars in the Chase. Are you looking to shake things up in a big way or just improve with the teams you have?
DAVE PERICAK: Right now we're staying focused on the rest of the season and continuing to show improvement throughout the season. We've been working hard. Clearly we've been working very close with the Roush Fenway team, making sure we make the right changes there. We've got a lot of capable drivers in that organization. We just need to get some things straightened out.
We're going to stay focused on the Chase and then we'll continue to roll out an improvement plan for next year start of the season. Stay tuned on that. We plan to strengthen the teams we're with today.

Q. I know coming into this season Toyota had a change on the front of their car. I was wondering if anyone going into '16 are looking at any modifications, changes in the complete body style or tweaks to the body you guys are running?
ED LAUKES: Every one of the OEs we agreed as we came out with the next gen vehicle, that we would try to do the best that we could to simulate as well as we could the production vehicle. I think that was a collaborative effort amongst the OEs. It was unprecedented in NASCAR. As we roll out next generation vehicles I think every one of us will make modifications and they'll come out.
But the competition teams within each one of the OEs are working together to make sure that that box stays tight as far as the performance of those vehicles. So we'll see slight modifications as we change models, but nothing dramatic.
JAMES CAMPBELL: Yeah, I would echo the same thing. When we obviously went from Gen‑5 to Gen‑6, the collaboration between the manufacturers and NASCAR and our teams was absolutely fantastic.
We really accomplished what we were looking for, NASCAR accomplished what they were looking for. We wanted to have brand character, brand differentiation, while also keeping the racing close. We all worked closely to do that.
The box we're talking about when it comes down to downforce and drag, aero matching cars that look different to get them tightly in a box around a combination of downforce and drag, we've done that.
For Chevrolet, our SS will be our play here for the near future. If we make a change in the showroom that necessitates a change for the track, we'll certainly go through that process again with NASCAR and our counterparts here.
ED LAUKES: One comment I want to make. I've said this a long time. It really is great that we can all work together for the betterment of the sport.
We compete every week in the showroom, we compete at auto shows, we compete everywhere, but we also can have a personal relationship and also work together for something we love, which is NASCAR.
I don't think you find that with any other type of brand out there. You hear about different brands that can't even sit at the same table and have a meal together. That's definitely not the case with us.

Q. Jim, you sort of answered this with the last question, but could you give us an update with the Australian manufacturing facilities shutting down the next couple years. Do you know yet how long you can keep the SS? Any sort of timetable when you might have to make a change?
JAMES CAMPBELL: The specifics on that, in our industry, anything on the forward product portfolio, we don't talk about in too much detail until it's the right time.
Right now the SS is play in the showroom and on the racetrack obviously. We're fuel injected, V8, rear wheel drive in the showroom. Same here at the track. We love that relevance, that connection. We really think it's genuine, authentic. It's kind of how it used to be, if you will.
As far as what happens in the future portfolio, nothing to comment at this time. As we get closer to those kind of decisions, we'll certainly advise this group.

Q. You were asked about the 2016 rules package. You all avoided it. Which package would you like to see used?
JAMES CAMPBELL: I would just say here is my answer for you. If you take a look at the Chase for the championship, we're going into our 12th year. There's been two different cars, Gen‑5, Gen‑6. There's been a variety of different packages we've raced. Over that timeframe the key is adjusting quickly to the rules.
We'll do the same thing as we go into next year as NASCAR makes their final decisions. That hasn't been made yet. But we will adjust quickly, support the teams with the proper simulation. We do a lot of simulation work, a lot of support in the testing realms to prepare for the races. Obviously we've had a few chances here to race these things in actual real live situations.
One thing, I think the low downforce package, the drivers seem to really like it. I think that has a lot of potential. But it depends on the track. That's the key, depending on the track configuration I think is where we're going to directionally head up to get a match on the aero packages without creating some infinite number of packages.
That one, the drivers seem to like it, the fans seem to like it. I think that one has a bright future for sure.
ED LAUKES: I mean, I would agree with Jim. Ultimately at the end of the day it's not our decision. It's the sanctioning body. The results that have come out of the racetrack for all the different packages for us, we've had success on all of them. We really want to lean to where the drivers are leaning to, where the sanctioning body is, also what the fans want. We want better racing so we'll adapt to whatever package they come out with.
DAVE PERICAK: It's been an inclusive process. NASCAR has included us after every test, analyzing the results, having good dialogue and discussion around it. I'm confident we're going to end up in '16 in the right place.

Q. I know you don't want to play your hand, but can any of you give us any status updates on who may be joining your manufacturer next year and may be leaving in terms of teams?
ED LAUKES: Stay tuned.
DAVE PERICAK: Ditto. We're not in a position to comment on the 2016 season. We're focused on this season right now.
THE MODERATOR: We wish you the best of luck at Chicagoland and the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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