Dodge to pull plug on NASCAR program
NASCAR will enter 2013 with just three manufacturers following confirmation that Dodge is set to withdraw from the sport.
Dodge has announced its upcoming exit from the Sprint Cup and Nationwide classes, where it is currently represented by two-car Penske Racing efforts.
The withdrawal comes six months after Penske announced that it would be moving to Ford next year.
While Dodge had pressed ahead with designing and producing a prototype car built to the revised 2013 Sprint Cup rule package, Dodge Street and Racing Technology president Ralph Gilles said that the company’s inability to find a solid replacement for Penske has seen the program terminated.
“Following the announcement of Penske Racing in March 12, we set up a detailed evaluation process to determine who our perspective new partners could be and specifically what the future would hold for us on and off the racetrack,” explained Gilles.
“We were initially pleased to see the vast amount of interest from teams and sponsors that came our way with a lot of interesting packages and ideas. We couldn’t unfortunately put together a structure that made sense to continue our business and competitive objectives for next year.
“This decision was not based on budgets, even though we have diversified in many sports this year, this was really a NASCAR-centric discussion and the case of the different pieces of the puzzle not fitting together to satisfy the structure we needed to fit our overall business and competitive objectives.”
Dodge returned to NASCAR in 2001 following a 24-year hiatus, winning 50 races across the last 12 seasons with teams including Penske, Petty Enterprises, Ganassi Racing and Evernham Motorsports.
Brad Keselowski is currently the highest placed Dodge in the 2012 points standings in seventh.
Dodge has reaffirmed its commitment to Penske Racing for the remainder of the season, and has refused to rule out a return to the sport in the future.
Meanwhile, Penske has confirmed that it will use Roush Yates engines in its Fords next year. The decision ensures that all Ford squads will run Roush Yates engines, as has been the case in 2012.