Will Dodge have a presence in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series?
It’s tough to say at this point after Penske Racing’s recent announcement of a switch to Ford for 2013. Unless another team decides to join the manufacturer for next season, Dodge may only have one team, the #7 of Robby Gordon, in its stable. And even that association is tentative, as Robby Gordon has an existing partnership with Penske Racing.
Penske is no stranger to the Ford camp, having worked extensively with the manufacturer from 1994 until the conclusion of the 2002 season.
The need to win races and championships is a main reason for the manufacturer switch. Although Penske teams are a threat throughout each season, they have yet to take that extra step to propel themselves to a Cup title. With Ford support, it may now be a reality, given that Penske is a team capable of winning championships.
Photo – Racin Today/HHP photo by Harold Hinson
“Let me say this, this wasn’t about money, and I want to make that clear,” Penske said. “I think that we evaluated, when you look at the strengths of the teams in NASCAR, the multiple-car teams, the success that Stewart-Haas had, the alignment with Hendrick, also with Gibbs and Waltrip and the teams that were out there … we’ve been operating pretty much for the last 10 years with some support … but we needed to have a benchmark. And I think having that additional technical information flow through the process, as Ford has outlined it to us, I think was very important to us.”
So what happens to Dodge in the coming years? Either they pull out of the sport altogether or will have to find new or existing teams to join their stable for 2013. It’s an entirely likely scenario that an existing team with limited manufacturer support may find themselves in an enticing position to make the jump to Dodge in 2013.
Richard Petty Motorsports, for example, has an alliance with Ford and Roush Fenway Racing. However, they are not the top Ford team, and a deal to put RPM back with Dodge may be the best possible scenario. Of course, it will be up to the team to decide that, but it seems there is interest in the organization. “We received calls from several manufacturers today asking if they could meet with us,” says team owner Andrew Murstein.
Additionally, RPM released this statement on March 2, 2012 regarding Penske Racing and the future.
|“The King” – Richard Petty
Photo – Autoweek 2009 article
“We welcome Penske Racing to the Ford Racing Family in 2013. Additional teams mean more information for everyone and that’s a very good thing from a competition standpoint. We have a partnership with Roush Fenway Racing and we are happy to be a part of the Ford Racing program. As we always do, we will evaluate all of our options and make decisions based on what is ultimately best for our race team.”
Ultimately, it would be nice to see RPM or another team help keep Dodge Motorsports alive. The more manufacturers there are, the better for the sport, as it creates diversity on the racetrack. NASCAR is getting itself back toward distinct manufacturers with cars that will look more like street models for 2013. Brand identity will be more prevalent meaning the cars will be a better marketing tool for perspective buyers.
Let’s hope Dodge will be able to reap the rewards of their efforts in producing their new 2013 Charger, scheduled to be unveiled March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.