Driver Brad Keselowski inspects the Snap-on Dodge car during the NASCAR Media Tour in Concord, North Carolina in January of 2012. Alas, he won't be driving the car next year. (Photo : Reuters)
Dodge announced this week that it will leave the world of NASCAR behind at the end of the 2012 season. The announcement was made in a conference call with members of the press by Ralph Gillies, president and CEO of Chrysler LLC's Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports.
Currently, there are two Dodge Chargers being raced by Penske Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, and two Dodge Challengers raced by Penske in the Nationwide Series.
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Dodge's racing partner since 2003, Penske announced that it would sever the relationship after 2012.
"We've spent an intense five months working to identify and evaluate all options for our future involvement in NASCAR," Gilles said in a statement. "A number of opportunities emerged, and our team worked diligently to put a structure together to fit our overall business and competitive objectives. While we have been pleased and enthused with the amount of interest from teams and sponsors over that time, in the end, we simply couldn't develop the right structure."
Dodge boasts a total of 215 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, 55 of which were won in the last 11 years. Its cars have been represented in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup in seven of the eight seasons that the system has been in place. In 2010, a Dodge driven for Penske by Brad Keselowski captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
"It's an extremely difficult decision to know that we won't be there for our fans next season," Gilles said. "It's important to note that we have not lost focus on 2012 or the commitment to our partnership with Penske Racing in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series this season."