Dodge To Withdraw From NASCAR
During a teleconference with the media held this afternoon, it was announced that Dodge would not participate in NASCAR in 2013.
Making the announcement was Dodge’s Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports.
“It’s with a heavy, heavy heart we hold this conference, Gilles said.
Gilles said the move comes because the company has not been able to find a suitable team/driver combination to replace Penske Racing as the lone major team using Dodges in NASCAR.
“We don’t want to just show up when racing,” Gilles said. “We want to win,”
He said it was a surprise to Dodge when Penske committed to move to Ford back in the spring of this year and that Dodge has explored going with other teams but nothing could be worked out.
“The decision was made at the committee level,” Gilles said, and, “was very complex.”
Gilles, who repeatedly apologized to fans of the Dodge brand during the teleconference, said that no decision has been made about rejoining NASCAR after 2013. “We’ll never say never,” he said.
Dodge will continue on for the remainder of the current season with Brad Keselowski of Penske looking to be a strong candidate to earn a berth in the Chase and, perhaps, a championship. Keselowski is seventh in points and has three victories.
Dodge has recorded 215 wins in the Cup Series, including 55 since 2001, and has been represented in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup seven of the eight seasons. In 2010, Keselowski captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driving a Dodge from Penske Racing.
“Dodge has been a great partner to NASCAR for many years, and they have been part of numerous memorable moments throughout our history,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “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 sports.”No Comment