Sources: Dodge Planning To Exit NASCAR At End Of '12 Season
Dodge is "expected to announce its withdrawal from NASCAR competition following the 2012 season," according to sources cited by Marty Smith of ESPN.com. The automaker is "expected to hold a Tuesday press conference to make the announcement." Dodge "was faced with a rebuilding phase beginning in 2013, after Penske Racing -- the lone NASCAR organization to field Dodges since 2009 -- chose to leave the manufacturer in favor of Ford Motor Company beginning next season." Penske has fielded Dodges since '03. Industry sources "question whether Dodge's parent company, Fiat, has any passion for NASCAR." Dodge previously pulled out of the sport in '77, returning in '01 (ESPN.com, 8/7). Dodge President Ralph Gilles in March said the automaker had "no plans to leave the sport" (THE DAILY). ESPN.com's David Newton on Sunday reported NASCAR Sprint Cup team Furniture Row Racing had been "prepared to switch from Chevrolet to Dodge in 2013 if the manufacturer chooses to go in that direction." Furniture Row GM Joe Garone on Sunday said that "there have been initial talks with Dodge about making a switch and adding a second team, potentially with 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch." Garone: "If Dodge comes to us and says here's the right deal, we would do it. They're trying to figure out who they're going to do it with and how they're going to do it" (ESPN.com, 8/5).