Toyota to leave IRL year early?

UPDATE #5 Honda's announcement (see Hot News page) that it will indeed supply Toyota's most successful team, Penske Racing, with engines in 2006 is certainly not going to make Toyota's last year in the IRL a pleasant one. 10/31/05 Hearing that Honda can't supply the entire IRL grid in 2006 as they are not ready. Hence Penske may be the last team they take on, leaving Target Chip Ganassi Racing stuck with the Toyota engine. Toyota was gaining ground at the end of the year, but Honda won't be asleep over the winter. 10/30/05 Robin Miller reported on Wind Tunnel and SPEEDTV that Marlboro Team Penske will switch to Honda power in 2006. With Ganassi looking to do the same, where does that leave Toyota? Answer – with zero chance of winning, so why bother? 10/17/05 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. According to this Indy Star article, Chip Ganassi said his Indianapolis-based team will not compete in the Champ Car World Series in 2006. He confirmed that he is talking with Honda about switching to that engine manufacturer for next season. Team Penske, another Toyota team, is doing likewise……which means there won't be any good teams left to run Toyota in 2006 and they will probably bail at that point. This means the IRL may be an all-Honda show as early as 2006. 09/22/05 Still hearing rumors that TRD will buy out contracts and leave the IRL at the end of this year. Not sure what/who to believe at this point. Stay tuned….. 09/13/05 The rumor that won't go away is that Toyota is prepared to buy its way out of its contracts with Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi and cease its IRL involvement after two more races. ……..Les Unger, national motorsports manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA, remained adamant. "Toyota and Toyota Racing Development are committed to fulfill our contractual obligations with the Indy Racing League as we have stated many times over and we fully intend to complete in what we hope to be a successful 2006 season. We'd like to win Indy again, as well as the driver's and manufacturer’s championships like we did in 2003."

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