Toyota's Lee White to retire, steps back now (Update)UPDATE Darrell Waltrip comments:
On White’s legacy in motor sports: “From the first day I started with Toyota with my Truck Series team years ago, Lee White was in charge of the Toyota engine development program. When Toyota decided to get into Cup racing, they didn’t have anything to start with -- no engine, no vehicle, no nothing. Toyota didn’t have a V8 pushrod, normally aspirated engine in its inventory at the time, so that engine had to be built from scratch from a blank sheet of paper. Lee oversaw every bit of that. Before that, he was a fierce competitor with Jack Roush in IMSA, and has been with TRD every step of the way, even in Indy car racing. He has been a major player in engine development for more than 20 years and has contributed more to auto racing than most people realize.”
On the significance of White’s loss to Toyota: There are a lot of capable people, but I’m sure Lee will be looking over their shoulder. I can’t imagine he won’t have some role down the road, but it will be hard to fill his shoes. Lee has a tremendous reputation and legacy, and it’s going to be a tall order to succeed him. I wouldn’t want to be that individual.”
On whether White’s legacy will be marred by recent TRD engine problems: “When engines make maximum power; when they make as much horsepower as they’re capable of making, which is what every driver and team wants, things will break. When you push things to the limit, they eventually will give out. Junior Johnson always told me an engine is like a chain. When something breaks, you fix that part and hope nothing else breaks. That’s what Toyota has done. Look at the qualifying efforts this year. At Dover, Toyota took four of the top-five qualifying spots. They’ve been leading a lot of laps. They’ve been pushing the envelope. You can’t fault anybody when they’re making max power and achieving those kinds of results. But when things break, fix them and continue on. Regardless of who’s in charge, as a driver or owner, I don’t want an engine program that’s not cutting-edge. Toyota, under Lee White, has been cutting-edge and has been getting great results. However, they’ve had failures to go along with those results. That’s the downside to what they’ve been doing.”
06/04/13 TRD, USA (Toyota Racing Development) President Lee White today announced that he has elected to retire at the end of the 2013 race season. Due to family health care needs, White will step down from his daily duties and will vacate the position of president and general manager of TRD, effective immediately.
"I have been planning and working toward retirement at the end of this race season in December," he said. "I have been offered and accepted an opportunity to perform a reduced amount of duties from my home office. This generous arrangement afforded to us by the company will allow me to attend to personal family priorities."
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