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Dodge Pulls out of NASCAR

“Clearly an extremely difficult decision.”

by on Aug.07, 2012

What was to have been the 2013 Dodge NASCAR entry (r) sits alongside the street version of the Dodge Charger.

In what a top executive described as “Clearly an extremely difficult decision,” Dodge is pulling out of NASCAR, the maker announced Tuesday afternoon, confirming reports that had first surfaced on the website run by the popular race series earlier in the day.

The decision to abandon what is the most widely followed motorsports program in the U.S. was the belated result of the decision by Team Penske to abandon Dodge and sign on with its arch-rival Ford Motor Co.  That unexpected setback, last March, left the smaller brand frantically searching for a new team and sponsors just as was ready to begin testing an all-new car for the 2013 NASCAR season.

After months of effort, no effective solution came together, a senior Chrysler executive lamented during a Tuesday conference call with reporters, leaving the Dodge brand no option but to pull out.

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“Cash,” insisted Ralph Gilles, the head of Chrysler corporate motor sports operations, “was not the issue.”  Instead, he repeatedly stressed, the effort to replace the Penske team had to be seen as “a multi-piece puzzle.  We couldn’t, unfortunately, put together a structure that made competitive sense for next year.”

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Dodge Unveils NASCAR Charger

Prepping for 2013 despite loss of Penske team.

by on Mar.12, 2012

The 2013 Dodge NASCAR entry (r) sits alongside the street version of the Dodge Charger.

Despite the loss of its primary NASCAR team, Dodge is moving ahead with plans for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series by unveiling its new Charger race car.

Exactly who will be campaigning for Dodge remains to be seen, however, following the surprise news that Roger Penske will shift his operations to Ford next year.  The Detroit motor sports legend has promised to finish out this season with Dodge, however.

Ironically, the new NASCAR Charger bears a significant imprint from Penske racing, which played a significant role in its development.  The new race car replaces the Challenger that Dodge had run in the Spring Cup Series since 2009.

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“This endeavor,” said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group’s design chief and the president of its SRT Brand Motorsports, “embodies many of the design features of the street version into the race car. We’re extremely proud that the Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup competition that is available with a V8 engine.”

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Penske Jumps from Dodge to Ford

Dodge frantically searching for new partner.

by on Mar.02, 2012

A force to be reckoned with, Roger Penske will jump from Dodge to Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

Only days after the 2012 racing season got underway legendary team owner Roger Penske delivered what could be the big bombshell for 2013 – announcing he will end his long-time affiliation with Dodge next year and put his team colors on a NASCAR entry from Ford.

The move leaves Dodge, the performance brand at the Chrysler Group, frantically searching for a winning team to replace its long-time ally.

“We will be evaluating our options,” said Dodge spokesman Dan Reid.

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The announcement by Penske came less than two weeks before Dodge was set to unveil its 2013 entry into the NASCAR circuit, a new version of its Charger muscle car.  But Penske’s team – which had run with Dodge for the last 10 years – will instead be racing the new Ford Fusion.

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