Part I of Tyler Gibbs and Jack Irving of Toyota Racing Development's driver development program

By Nate Ryan, NASCAR on NBC Sports

The brain trust of Toyota Racing Development's vaunted driver development pipeline on their backgrounds with TRD (3:00); being based in California but being “comfortable” with that and the travel it demands (5:00); the origins of the driver development program (7:00); which includes physical training, social media and health and nutrition advice (9:00); figuring out to pay for the program and rising star Christopher Bell (10:30); “if we need tried to go back and do this 100 times, it probably doesn’t work” (11:30); the importance of being hands on, understanding every prospect won’t stay and getting the byproduct of teams working together more often (13:30); kicking off the program with a home run in Christopher Bell (15:00); reflecting on Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace being in the program before it was fully formed (16:00); William Byron’s time with TRD (17:00); the “family selection” process (18:00); how Toyota attaches sponsors to drivers the way teams would (19:30); how dealing with the sponsorship as a manufacturer differs from managing it as a team (21:30); preparing “kids” for meeting with sponsors and learning businesses (23:00); incorporating the elements of “Sports Science” and “Moneyball” analytics (25:00); learning about how to analyze drivers through the Texas Rangers and TCU (26:30); ensuring that drivers get a “report card” on their progress (28:00); teaching drivers basic information like how to handle running out of gasoline on track (29:00); how the metrics of “Moneyball” and “Sports Science” work together (30:30); the simple ways of teaching drivers about nutrition and simple things (32:00); the importance of removing team variables to enhance evaluations (34:30); what trying to develop drivers is like during the middle of a pandemic (35:30); keeping drivers exercising and in communication across long distances during lockdown (37:00); managing expectations about getting in the car after a long layoff (39:00); how TRD is advising its younger drivers on returning to track as racing restarts (40:30).

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