November 6, 2008 - Torrance, CA - Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. (TMS) and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that Josh Ray is the diversity apprentice selected from Toyota's Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) alumni program.
American Indian descendant and Oklahoma-native Ray will relocate to North Carolina to begin a one-year, technical position within the MWR organization, directly involved with the teams' NASCAR participation beginning on Monday, November 10, 2008. The three-part position will include rotations with Michael Waltrip Racing's tear down area, electronics department and also in the suspension department.
"When I first learned about this unique opportunity through the T-TEN newsletter, I never imagined I would be the one selected to be a part of this," comments Ray, Oklahoma State University student. I am currently pursuing an engineering degree and am excited for the chance to apply my education and experience to the growth of the MWR/Toyota NASCAR organization."
"This program is an important step for MWR in our effort to promote more diversity in our sport," said Ty Norris, MWR Vice President and General Manager. "Toyota created this unique opportunity and Josh showed us through the interview process that he has the desire to make NASCAR his home. MWR has gained a talented and motivated employee, while Josh has earned a chance to launch a long career."
After reviewing many applications from previous T-TEN graduates, Ray was chosen by the selection committee as one of three finalists to advance to the next round, which consisted of interviews with the Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Once the interviews were concluded and the final candidates were evaluated, Ray was awarded the opportunity of a lifetime – a one year apprenticeship with one of the most popular teams in NASCAR.
"Ray is a testament to the value of our T-TEN programs, the opportunity it affords and Toyota's commitment diversity and creating positive life-changing opportunities at all levels of our business," comments Dave Camden, VP-Dealer Operations, Toyota Customer Services Division. "We are pleased to partner with the MWR team and support their NASCAR efforts via this year-long apprenticeship."
"NASCAR is committed to further diversifying our sport and we are excited to have TMS and MWR join forces in this innovative program," said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR Managing Director of Public Affair. "Toyota is a long time supporter of diversity efforts and the TMS/MWR partnership is an important next step in creating new opportunities and building greater awareness of careers in NASCAR and the automotive industry."
Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR)
Over a decade ago, Michael Waltrip established a modest family-owned NASCAR Nationwide Series team in Sherrills Ford, N.C., called Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). In 2007 when TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) entered competition in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series, Waltrip established a strong partnership with Toyota to field three full-time Camrys at the pinnacle of the sport while maintaining the integrity of his championship caliber Nationwide team. In the midst of building three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, Waltrip commenced the construction of a 140,000 sq. ft shop in which all four teams are housed today.
Toyota Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN)
T-TEN is a partnership among Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., 56 community colleges and vocational schools, and our 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the country. Together, they provide state-of-the-art automotive training in both a classroom and dealership environments. T-TEN student learn and earn while receiving instruction from factory-trained teachers and guidance from dealership mentors. Graduates of T-TEN earn factory certification (www.t-ten.com).
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