Penske Moving From Dodges To Fords
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
NASCAR’s Penske Racing will switch from racing Dodges to Fords beginning with the 2013 season, Ford Racing and team owner Roger Penske announced today.
The main reason, team owner Roger Penske said during a teleconference on Thursday afternoon, was simple: To help his team’s quest to win a Sprint Cup championship. Penske said he thinks switching from Dodge to gives his team a better chance to win that championship.
“We look forward to joining the Ford Racing NASCAR program beginning in 2013,” team owner Roger Penske said. “We appreciate the long-term commitment that Ford has made to Penske Racing and for their continued support of the sport.”
The only other team using Dodges in Cup this season is that of Robby Gordon. Gordon has a deal to get his engines from Penske.
The move comes as a surprise as Penske and Dodge seemed committed to each other as recently as a month ago. They held a joint presentation during the annual NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C.
“Penske Racing has had and continues to have a terrific relationship with Dodge and we thank them for their partnership and their support over the past 10 years,” said Penske. “Our organizations have experienced many great memories together and our teams are committed to produce wins and championships with Dodge this season. We look forward to rejoining the Ford Racing NASCAR program beginning in 2013. We appreciate the long-term commitment that Ford has made to Penske Racing and for their continued support of the sport.”
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, offered the following statement:
“Dodge has enjoyed a successful partnership with Penske Racing for 10 years. It’s a partnership that has produced results for both parties on and off the track. Roger (Penske) has made a business decision to accept an offer with another manufacturer. We wish Roger and Penske Racing much success in the future.
“We are committed to work with Penske Racing to compete at the highest level, win races and contend for championships this season.
“Our motorsports involvement isn’t limited to NASCAR. We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward. As those opportunities materialize, we’ll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports.”
Penske Racing had been helping develop the 2013 Dodge.
“From a development perspective,” Penske said, “obviously we’ve had early work on the Dodge Charger for 2013. I expect Dodge will continue to take that over directly themselves, but we’ve been involved from the beginning and I think all the cars were demonstrated at Homestead several weeks ago, so there is a lot of work to be done. NASCAR still hasn’t given us the final specifications, so that’s pretty much an open book.”
Penske has never won a Sprint Cup championship. It has won a Nationwide Series championship, that with Keselowski driving two years ago.
Penske Racing officially takes the track with Ford in the 2013 season, and the organization will be part of the competition debut of the 2013 NASCAR Fusion, which was first shown in Charlotte on Jan. 24, as part of the Charlotte Media Tour.
“It was important to get this agreement in place early so that we can plan ahead for the debut of the new 2013 NASCAR Fusion,” said Jamie Allison, Ford Racing director. “We will work with Roush Fenway on the final development of the new car during this season, but we want to be able to have our teams building their new cars for the 2013 season before the end of the year, as the transition to the new body is taking place.
“With the operations and technology resources Penske brings from all forms of racing, we know they will be a strong addition to our program, and we look forward to working with them and all our teams to create a stronger Ford NASCAR program with even greater depth.”One Comment