Co-Host of Top Gear U.S. Edition to Serve as Master of Ceremonies
TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 11, 2012 — Toyota announced today that NASCAR television analyst and Top Gear U.S. edition co-host Rutledge Wood will announce the winner of the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge (www.ToyotaRacingDreamBuild.com), a vehicle modification competition pitting four top racing drivers and their dream cars against each other for charity. The awards ceremony will take place at Toyota’s press conference during the 2012 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas on Oct. 30.
"I’m a big car guy and that’s why I’m so excited about the Dream Build Challenge,” said Wood. "What’s so cool…is that Toyota is taking their drivers, letting them build something crazy, and then they’re going to raise money for their charities. I mean that’s an amazing thing. It’s going to be huge and I’m so glad to be a part of it with all my friends at Toyota."
The Dream Build challengers are NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Clint Bowyer, who is building an ultra-high-tech Prius; NHRA Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown and his drag-race-inspired Sequoia; NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch, who is developing a road-race-style Camry; and NHRA Nitro Funny Car phenom Alexis DeJoria, who is transforming a Tundra into a virtually race-ready desert "pre-runner."
Fans will determine by online voting which of the four modified Toyota vehicles will win the
challenge, which includes a check from Toyota for $50,000 made out to the winning driver’s charity of choice.
In addition to announcing the winning driver and charity, Wood will serve as master of ceremonies for the Toyota SEMA Show press conference, with duties to include introduction of five additional Toyota vehicles built expressly for the SEMA show: three unique versions of the all-new 2013 Avalon; an FJ Cruiser modified by TRD; and the Ultimate Fishing Tundra.
The role of emcee comes naturally to Wood, whose service in that capacity on cable television’s SPEED channel brought him to the attention of BBC Worldwide, who at the time were in the process of seeking co-hosts for the U.S. edition of “Top Gear.” Wood has co-hosted the American edition of the popular program on cable’s History channel since 2010. As a resident “funny man” on SPEED, he can be seen on the talk-variety series “Trackside” and as a roving reporter during NASCAR events.
Wood’s affinity for Toyota products makes him a natural selection for hosting duties at the company’s SEMA Show press conference. Among the vehicles in his personal garage, he says, “My ‘Dad-mobile’ is easily my favorite. It’s a Tundra CrewMax 4×4.” And he counts his 1997 Supra Twin Turbo as one of his dream cars. Wood also participated in the 36th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity race during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach last April.
Wood will be featured in an upcoming segment of the online reality series that has been developed around the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge. New episodes are uploaded regularly at www.ToyotaRacingDreamBuild.com.
Voting for the challenge will open on Oct. 20 and will continue through Oct. 29. Fans will be able to vote once per day on Facebook where they can also enter to win prizes, including a Toyota Racing Dream Trip.
The final vehicle builds will be unveiled by Wood during Toyota’s press conference at the SEMA show in Las Vegas on Oct. 30 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. Fans will be able to tune in live online via Livestream to watch the entire press conference and see the winner announced in real time.