Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Dodge has formally announced its departure
from NASCAR competition following the conclusion of the 2012 season. It's
decision affects current involvement in both the Sprint Cup Series and the
Ralph Gilles, the President and CEO of Dodge's Street and Racing Technology
Brand and Motorsports, made the announcement during a media teleconference
call on Tuesday.
"We've spent an intense five months working to identify and evaluate all
options for our future involvement in NASCAR," Gilles said. "A number of
opportunities emerged, and our team worked diligently to put a structure
together to fit our overall business and competitive objectives. While we have
been pleased and enthused with the amount of interest from teams and sponsors
over that time, in the end, we simply couldn't develop the right structure."
Dodge's plan to withdrawal from NASCAR comes after Penske Racing revealed
earlier this year that it is switching to Ford at the start of the 2013
campaign. Penske, which has been with Dodge since 2003, fields two Charger
cars in Sprint Cup and two Challenger cars in Nationwide.
On Monday, Roush Yates Engines announced that it will provide Ford FR9 engines
to Penske beginning next year. Penske fielded Ford for its NASCAR teams from
No other active teams in Sprint Cup are using Dodge.
"It's an extremely difficult decision to know that we won't be there for our
fans next season," Gilles added. "It's important to note that we have not lost
focus on 2012 or the commitment to our partnership with Penske Racing in both
the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series."
Dodge has recorded 215 wins in NASCAR's premier series, including 55 since
2001, and has been represented in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in seven of the
first eight seasons. In 2010, Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide championship,
driving a Dodge for Penske.
"Dodge has been a great partner to NASCAR for many years, and they have been
part of numerous memorable moments throughout our history," NASCAR Chairman
and CEO Brian France said in a statement. "They made a business decision not
to return in 2013, as they did in 1977 before returning in 2001. We wish them
well and hope they again will choose to return to NASCAR at a later date.
"Our fans have a passion for cars and emotional connections to particular
manufacturers, and that's why in 2013 we will debut new race car designs that
are modeled after each manufacturer's production cars. This change is a direct
result of feedback from our fans, who are the most brand loyal in all of
Dodge first pulled out of NASCAR competition in 1977 and did not return to the
sport until 2001.
Chevrolet and Toyota are the other manufacturers in NASCAR.
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