When Penske decided to drop Dodge in favor of Ford , Dodge was left on the outside of the NASCAR world looking in. They had no team to field their newly developed NASCAR Sprint Cup ride and things looked pretty bleak.
Things went from bleak to ugly, as Dodge failed to have its Charger ready for testing this week and reports indicate that this means Dodge is out of NASCAR for the 2013 season. There is no clear-cut reasoning for Dodge pulling out so abruptly, but many sources are pointing toward Fiat, Dodge’s parent company, having no interest in NASCAR and forcing the pull out.
Last time we checked, Chrysler – including Dodge – is what kept Fiat’s ass afloat this year and to take away NASCAR as a means of advertising seems a little odd by a company that knows nothing about the “sport.”
At the press conference held at 2:30 ET today, Dodge SRT and Motorsports CEO Ralph Gilles only confirmed that Dodge is dropping its NASCAR presence. "Following our thorough five month process weighing all options in the sport, we have decided to withdraw from NASCAR racing," he said in an opening statement during the news conference. "You have no idea how much we feel the pain," he added.
This announcement solidifies the elimination of the last rear-driven, V-8-powered factory car from the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Every other car on the circuit is now front-wheel drive.
Dodge’s last NASCAR withdrawal happened in 1977, and it did not return until 2001. By that pace, we should see Dodge return to NASCAR sometime in the 2030s... Actually, we are willing to bet that Dodge returns in just a few years, at the most.
UPDATE 08/07/2012: NASCAR followed up Dodge’s press conference with a statement of their own concerning Dodge’s departure. “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."
Click past the jump to read NASCAR’s presser.